The Economist spoke to media critic, researcher, philosopher Jay Rosen about the state of journalism in America and where it’s headed in the future. In the interview, the New York University professor provides some interesting insight into objectivity and some great lines about the ability of newspapers to evolve.
First, Rosen was asked about the biggest problem the American media faces and, not surprisingly, he talks about news organizations adaptation to an online business model.
The cost of changing settled routines seems too high, but the cost of not changing is, in the long term, even higher. A good example is the predicament of the newspaper press: the print edition provides most of the revenues, but it cannot provide a future. I know of no evidence to show that young people are picking up the print habit. So if the cost of abandoning print is too high, the cost of sticking with it may be even higher, though slower to reveal itself.
He goes on to discuss the issue of trust and the appearance of ideology in political coverage, before getting into neutrality.
Power-seeking and truth-seeking are different behaviours, and this is how we distinguish politics from journalism. I think it does take a certain detachment from your own preferences and assumptions to be a good reporter. The difficulty is that neutrality has its limits. Taken too far, it undermines the very project in which a serious journalist is engaged.
Finally, Rosen lists off some of the best media organizations practicing the trade. He names Gawker, Wired, the Economist (suck up much) and Jon Stewart, among others.
The interview probably won’t change they way you do your job, but it’s definitely worth a full read for those journalists out there.