Justifying Journalism

I spoke at a media relations conference yesterday paradoxically on the topic of influencing public attitidues with direct communication strategies. Of course, I touched on my usual themes -- dialogue replacing monologue (shouting your message), dialgoue as "the art of thinking together" (William Isaacs), and the impact of social media on corporate communication strategies. The response was polite, with a bit more enthusiasm from a couple of people who work for NGOs.

But during those parts of the presentation where I rant about the declining importance of mainstream media when it comes to issue management, using examples like Intel's announcement about layoffs that was scooped by bloggers, I realized just how tough it is to be a newspaper or television reporter these days. Not only are newspaper jobs disappearing, and news room resources dwindling, but bloggers are also getting to stories hours, even days, before a reporter is on the case.

The question is How are reporters coping? What strategies are individual reporters using to justify their craft? Other than those fighting a rearguard action with complaints about 'no standards in the blogsphere', no fact checkers in social media, no training for citizen journalists, are some wondering just how valuable is their profession? If a thousand others can find news faster, can write with as much panache and meaning, and reach an influential audience, then what is the new role for mainstream scribes?

Just a thought.

11.09.01 . . . A New Yorker's View

Sons and L'Enfant