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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Has Old Media Lost Its Verb?

Jeff Jarvis heads his response to the The Professor's "Laying Newspapers Gently Down to Die" essay by noting that "journalism is a verb, not a noun," and offering some very wise words on why folks in the old media really only have one viable choice - embrace the new media and learn to change and grow with it. Otherwise, you will die.

Jarvis is one of the rare folks in the Blogosphere who is both a widely read blogger and a long-time success in the old media in its print and broadcast worlds. And Jeff really "gets it" on why the new media is succeeding so spectacularly as the old media continues to wither. So his thoughts on these issues are especially worthy of your contemplation.

Here's the heart of his advice to the old media:

"But turn this around and look at how exploded journalism faces new opportunities: By embracing all this new journalism people are doing, there is a no limit to the news that can be reported and there is tremendous efficiency to it.
"In this new world, the reporters are also the marketers. And once again, trust is something that is earned rather than protected. Here's a vision of the future of news where that happens.
"Rather than looking at all that as a competitor to be stopped, old journalism needs to see how to embrace the new but the new will go on whether or not it is embraced because everyone will be doing it.
"So if old journalism were smart, it would find ways to support the new: Train the everybodies doing journalism; share financial support with them; share trust with them; find the best of them; aggregate them; share the spotlight with them; take advantage of the work they do; respect them."

Embrace and grow or reject and die. It really is that simple. Some in the old media are and will do precisely that, but I fear their ranks will be thin and many will be those of their colleagues who blindly stumble into obsolescence. You can read Jeff's complete post here.