Jeff Jarvis Thinks ‘Community Organizers’ are the Future of Journalism

PH2005052901076.jpgThe New York Observer is running a profile on “Blogger, professor, and media consultant” Jeff Jarvis (parts of which, having to do with Bill Keller, Jarvis apparently has some issues with). Here’s some of his advice regarding how media people might approach and uncertain, quickly-changing future:

We should embrace change…Instead, too often we fight change. That’s the nature of organizations and institutions that hold power. Change might mean losing power. The great and magnificent irony of online — this would really send [Ron] Rosenbaum’s spine up — is that in my blog, in what I call Jarvis’ Law, is that I say if you give people control, we will use it. If you don’t, you lose us. The counterintuitive way of the Internet age is when you give up control, you win. The old way was to maintain control to win.

“This city used to have 400 in a newsroom, now we have 35,” he said. “Surely that’s not enough to cover news in this community. But! You have the opportunity to create new networks. Which would include, yes, bloggers and freelancers and could also include recently laid-off journalists who can start their own businesses.

Is the new model better or worse?…The first answer is, that’s irrelevant. This is how people connect with each other for information now. Having said that, it’s better. I have more sources for information than I ever had before.”

Editors, he argues, can be cut significantly, because they don’t create value the way reporters do.

“Community organizers” is the term he uses for the editors of the future: the people who teach “citizens” how to call and verify information; how to do sourcing; all those things you would learn on the first day of your CUNY J-school class.