Last night’s debate at LSE entitled ‘The New New Journalism’ was definitely a head scratcher and rather than try and analyse the back and forth in one post, here are some key points made by the speakers:
Tessa Mayes (campaigning investigative journalist): “We’re in danger within journalism of losing and forgetting what it is that we do and what it is that we need journalism to do in society. Journalists are simply becoming information managers.”
From the audience: “Information must be the master of the technology and not the other way round.”
Bill Thompson (journalist, commentator and contributor to the BBC’s technology section): “There is nothing at all essential, vital or needed about journalism. As technology develops, roles for editor and journalists will still exist, but the relationship will bear no resemblance to what they are now.”
Bill Thompson: said he (optimistically) hopes that the demand for original content will reassert the balance between this type of material and content being ‘shifted’ between media.
Julia Whitney (head of design and user experience for news, sport and weather at the BBC): Design of media sites, news sites, online communities ‘has everything to do with how meaning is generated’.
In my view the two most valid points made during the conversation were:
Bill Thompson’s suggestion that ultimately society doesn’t need journalism and journalists should be wary of the fact that they don’t exist in a protected, god-given role.
Secondly, Suw Charman-Anderson’s view from the audience on management issues, which she eloquently expresses on her blog:
“I made this point at the very end of the evening, that much of the problem in news organisations is down to broken management structures and dysfunctional management techniques. Bad decisions are being made by people unwilling to listen to those with the knowledge, but who are several paygrades down the food chain. Good journalists do not always make good managers and, ironically, are not always the best communicators.”
Your thoughts are welcome.