I remember when I first starting teaching journalism way back in the day actually using one of those stinky, buzz-inducing ditto machines to publish my students’ work “widely” up and down the hallways. I remember copy-editing by hand with green Flair pen, the same color my dreaded college journalism professors used, teaching my kids the fine art of marking up each other’s stories and adding suggestions for improvement. And I remember buying about 15 copies of various newspapers every Friday just so we could all spend some time getting our fingers black with ink as we searched for interesting and/or well written stories.
When I think of those days, I feel really old, for sure, but I also feel amazed at how much has changed in terms of media. And now, when it seems that “old” media is finally tipping full force into a “new” digital media model, I have to say I’m somewhat wistful.
Ok. I’m over it.
Yesterday’s New York Times piece by David Carr “Mourning Old Media’s Decline” got me really thinking again, however, about how much more important journalism has become in these days when newsrooms are being cut and reporters laid off. The Christian Science Monitor is closing its print edition. The Los Angeles Times, Newark Star-Ledger and others are making deeper cuts. All of which is going to increase our reliance on not only online media but participatory online media, the form of media that is largely unedited, essay-driven and agenda-ridden. All of which, by the way, should be driving our conversations about how to fundamentally rewrite our curriculum and our delivery system to prepare students to be, um, participants both as readers and as writers.
I loved this graph from the article:
Stop and think about where you are reading this column. If you are one of the million or so people who are reading it in a newspaper that landed on your doorstop or that you picked up at the corner, you are in the minority. This same information is available to many more millions on this paperâ€™s Web site, in RSS feeds, on hand-held devices, linked and summarized all over the Web.
The problem for us is that we’re still teaching like our kids are going to be reading those edited, linear, well-written newspapers when the reality is they’re not. And the bigger problem is that, by and large, we still don’t know enough about the “new” media world in our personal practice to push those conversations about change in any meaningful way.
We better figure it out pretty quickly, or we’ll be mourning much more than old media…
Joel Adkins says
I am happy to see this post. I have been advocating for reaching out beyond just the ed. tech community for information. Chris Brogan’s blog post from October 26 put it succinctly “Reach Outside your Fishbowl to Build Community” (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/reach-outside-your-fishbowl-to-build-community/).
I think we need to be plugged into these outside resources to figure out this new media and how this current generation is using resources to tap into them. I do think that some of us are on the edge of the curve by using such tools as Plurk, Twitter, and micro-social networking resources. We know these are tying into new media tools.
But what about the largest growing entertainment media worldwide? Gaming?
I am planning on attending a local conference in Austin called South by Southwest Interactive. This is a conference about emerging technologies but it isn’t limited to just education. This is a new media conference. What better way to immerse into the culture of today’s media than this conference which is also tied in with a film and music festival?
There are many opportunities worldwide to attend things outside our fishbowl. The post by Brogran even gives 5 helpful tips to find conversations outside what you might normally listen in to. We should all be listening outside and adapting to the new media – the new world, even.
David Jakes says
Reading your post, I could help but think back to EPIC 2014 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPIC_2014) and the statements made about the “slumbering Fourth Estate” and participatory media.
Heather Blanton says
Your comment: “All of which, by the way, should be driving our conversations about how to fundamentally rewrite our curriculum and our delivery system to prepare students to be, um, participants both as readers and as writers.” truly struck a cord with me.
I constantly hear “if I had more time, I would love to have students use technology more . . .” Students are using technology for a variety of reasons. They are producers, directors, and authors. They are forming opinions from what they see and read online with or without the help of the educational system. What I’m seeing in my schools are masses of children with little or no ability to apply common sense and logical thought in meaningful ways. We have students who are not prepared to decipher the propaganda from the facts. In a participatory media environment, how do we expect them to become valuable participants when they lack the skills to determine value?
Yes,Yes,Yes! I am in the midst of an electronic literacy unit. We (I teach 6th graders) are using Diigo to document our use of reading strategies while reading online text. So far, so good–the kids are responding and enjoying reading each others thoughts.
Kent Manning says
I’m almost 50 years old.
My father read the Toronto Star newspaper every day very early in the morning. I can still smell the bacon he used to fry which was part of his morning routine.
Here in rural Canada I was thrilled when the New York Times announced a few years back that it would deliver to my door in my neck of the woods. It is electronically sent to Toronto, printed and then loaded on a truck.
The NYT arrives in my country mailbox at 4:30 a.m. and by 5:30 a.m. the coffee is made, by 6:00 a.m. my fingers are black.
I wouldn’t have it any other way…
David Truss says
I shared this comment on Dennis Richard’s post about this post.
I don’t remember the last time I read a newspaper… and I would argue that many newspaper articles are not written to inform but rather to exaggerate, or oversimplify, or sensationalize a topic for the sake of grabbing your attention… and then they don’t go deep enough to make the read worthwhile.
I’ve questioned the validity, importance and integrity of papers ever since I watched Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky years ago: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5631882395226827730
(Slow, but very worth watching)
Newspapers’ attempts to sensationalize & create an urgency to read things are what have caused their own demise. So too has their focus on narrow issues that all papers cover… the simple fact is that television and multi-media do that better than papers do.
If papers stopped making what Perez Hilton talks about the focus of their ‘news’ then they will find a market and survive. If I felt I could open a paper and read more than just one good article, that I needed to browse 15 articles to find, then maybe I’d pick one up every now and then, or even subscribe!
I’ll add here that I like your slant, looking at ‘old media teachers’… why is it that photocopying is still one of a schools biggest costs each year? How many old-reused work sheets are being pumped out every day in classrooms around the world? This isn’t even about the technology, it is about changing practice to provide more opportunities for higher order thinking.
That’s what a good newspaper article does… it challenges you to think and question your stance on a topic… and it doesn’t have to be printed anymore.
Kent Manning says
I suppose the papers can exaggerate, oversimplify and sensationalize. But they can also inspire, put you in the “place” and inform.
I look forward to 3 or 4 really good articles in my daily paper version NYT. And during the week I look forward to the Metropolitan diary on Monday – – wonderful human interest stories, Thursday’s Circuits section and Friday’s Escapes. There is just something about the anticipation of waiting for the morning news and then there’s the walk in the cold weather to the mailbox.
Thanks for the discussion….
Gary Christenson says
I feel your pain, Will, or at least your age. I started teaching journalism 29 years ago in the Selectric Era. Having lived through marking up hard copy and doing rewrites on typewriters, I won’t be mourning Old Media, except perhaps for its semblance of objectivity. Today, I work to excite my students about Online News, blogs and citizen journalism. When I was a student, I was told my first year at a paper would be spent writing obituaries. How that didn’t cause to major in accounting I’ll never know. I rather prefer this new frontier.
John Larkin says
I will miss the print editions of my favourite newspapers. I will not miss the local rag. Melancholy will be the order of the day in the likely event that the print editions of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian become extinct.
I enjoy sitting down to read the newspaper. It is tactile. Tangible. Turning a page determines what I will read and which photographs I will view. It is quite linear and ordered and requires little or no thinking and/or decision making on my part. I can get ‘lost’ in a broadsheet paper. The moment takes me “away”. Reading the stories, the readers’ letters, the political cartoons and the comics follows a progression that is seemingly innate. I find reading the newspaper to be relaxing and an effective way to de-stress.
In comparison reading the same newspaper online is nowhere near as pleasant. Which link to follow? Which section to scan? Where is the editorial? Where are the political cartoons? I cannot get lost in the moment. Too many distractions online and on the computer. Links to earlier letters to the editor and related information is indeed useful.
New media is here to stay of course. Perhaps limited print runs of newspapers will be continued for diehards such as myself.
Gary S. Stager, Ph.D. says
In this age of “new media,” do you have any idea how student journalism has fared? Are there more or fewer classes like the one you used to teach? I suspect, fewer. That would represent a real educational loss and eliminate a place of meaning for kids not filling their lives with competitive sports.
Is kids’ work being edited as meticulously? Are they learning about their Constitutional rights? Are they speaking truth to power with the assistance of a fearless competent adult?
I guess I’ll feel less nostalgic for paper-based journalism when there is the blogger equivalent of “Lou Grant” capturing the public’s imagination.
1. What’s a newspaper?
2. Is it something I can obtain at my local Nickelodeon?
3. Or is it better I power up the Kinescope?
Meredith Broderick says
What I miss is good journalists. good Journalism has been decimated by the fall of print media and the ownership being switched from family own papers to corporations. Look at the LA times or the Chicago Tribune.
No one is asking the tough questions,The state of international reporting on all “good” papers is practically nonexistant. look at our last 2 presidential campaigns. The yellow journalism most media practice for liberal or conservative agendas is not journalism. The same is true of NewsMedai. If you watch Bill moyers he has been telling this story for about 5 years. And this is not a conservative or liberal news media problem.It is bipartisan.
Good journalists are scarcer than hens teeth, and more importantly the practice of it is not being handed down to the next generation. Everything is a love fest or Hate fest and made simple so that the american Idol generation doesn’t have to think too much.
of course you are right about shifts in how we recieve the media but the decline in journalism is a sad state of affairs . It does not matter how we receive news if it has nothing of substance to offer.