Johnson, "Old Growth Media and the Future of News" & Starr, "Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Age of Corruption)"

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Please post your questions on Johnson, Steven. "Old Growth Media and the Future of News." Stevenberlinjohnson.com. 14 March 2009. Web. http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2009/03/the-following-is-a-speech-i-gave-yesterday-at-the-south-by-southwest-interactive-festival-in-austiniif-you-happened-to-being.html and Starr, Paul. "Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Age of Corruption)" The New Republic. 4 March 2009. Web. http://www.tnr.com/article/goodbye-the-age-newspapers-hello-new-era-corruption?page=1%2C4

1. Why does Johnson describe the current media environment as a "ecosystem"? What do you think about his model for the future of journalism?

2. Why is "technology journalism" a useful case study, in Johnson's opinion, for understanding the future of news/journalism? Do you agree?

3. Why is Johnson optimistic about the new media news environment? What do you think about Johnson's optimism? Do you agree? Do you think he is overlooking anything important?

4. What are the 2 central limitations or problems with this new ecosystem that Johnson is concerned about? (That is, what are the complexities of questions of access and time, and why is it "going to get ugly"?)

5. How, in Starr's view, should newspapers function as a public good? What developments does he point to that interfere with this?

6. Why, for Starr, is it important to place the shifts in news media in the context of the "emerging framework of post-industrial society and politics"? What does he mean?

7. What are the developments in news (and in the business of news) that Starr calls "dire"? Why is he so concerned?

8. Starr closes with a note on the importance of newspapers for the functioning of democracy. What is his argument? Do you agree? Why/why not?

11 Comments

As technology and online media have a growth in popularity their is a decrease in print media. This has a huge affect on the people around us. Johnson gave some really important points when talking about the change that is to come in the future and how things could "get ugly." I have to say that I agree with him in his two points that he does present. What is some good that comes from this future ecosystem that he laid out for us?

Johnson describes the current media environment as an “ecosystem,” because its complexity comes from information diverse and interconnected world is completely different from the old industrial style. I think it is an inevitable style achieved through people’s behaviors of information seeking efficiency in this era. In such system, he says newspapers are going to disappear as business. How does it harm us?

Johnson thinks the entire ecosystem of news is going to look more and more like the technology news ecological niche that has been evolving for the past fifteen years. He said he is hoping to write a bit more about the economics of this new model in the coming weeks; his colleague at outside.in, Mark Josephson, has already started explaining some of our thinking on the economics of local news. Expect much more from both of us on this topic shortly. I think after all news medias change from paper subscribes to web subscribe, there is huge transformation in our society. Why they want to change to web world? Is the reason only for Global Environment?

Since I am presenting tomorrow, I will just post one of my questions I'm going to ask to get credit this week. What could be some extra consequences of the barriers between media types breaking down and merging?

First I thought it was pretty funny that Starr's article was online as opposed to in our course packet. But as I was reading I couldn't help think that everything is going in this direction in other forms of media, and life in general. In terms of Media, magazines like People and InTouch can easily be replaced by shows like Access Hollywood and TMZ. And in terms of everyday life, books are being replaced by Kindles and Emails are taking the place of letters, coupons, flyers, etc. Although the older generations prefer consumption through tangible objects, the younger generations are leaders of this Green movement, wanting less paper and more trees. Will there be a loss of the use of paper, especially in media seen today.

Starr talks about making newspapers and journalism a public service through the use of NPO's or non-profit organizations. I see many problems with this claim. Do you think that it would be complicated for a journalist or newspaper company to be a non-profit group? There are many stipulations to being an NPO and closely followed rules. I think it would be too hard to prove where your profit was going as a journalist. In what ways would this be difficult?

Starr mentions that in today's modern world, newspapers and sources of information are migrating online, especially national newspapers like The New York Times or The Washington Post. He also mentions that many of these national newspapers will also include audio and video next to their articles, like it is essentially a broadcast network or a combinations as he refers to it. Starr's tone toward this integration appears to be forewarning, like it's almost a bad idea. My question is, wouldn't think be an advantage to modify our national newspapers into these types of databases? What's the harm in doing that? More people today are online anyway.

Assuming their assertions are correct in that newspapers are on the way out, what do you think will happen to the style of journalism that people are drawn to? will services become much more niche oriented, and farther away from 'network' style journalism?

Johnson insists in this article that today's media is like a ecosystem in a way it circulates the information, and it is hard to predict the future. I agree with his point which he addresses that nobody can predict what our future with these media would be. So my question is : What do you think our future with the media would be like? and how do we want it to be like?

Johnson clearly sees that the world is shifting to a more efficient way of spreading information. Now messages can be transmitted in the blink of an eye for people to consume. The fall of print media is, in my opinion a good thing in terms of the amount of waste related to print media. So the question is, what, if any, are some drawbacks about where the world is going in terms of the migration to paperless media?

One comment that Paul Starr makes is that online there is a lot of opinions but not a lot of facts. he says that there is a lack of "editorial scrutiny." I would be interested to ask him if newspapers created websites that were exactly like the newspapers were(did not allow blog posts, comments by un edited people etc.) would that be ok? His complaint only really makes sense when people are allowed to comment without having to go through an editor or some similar process.

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