I first discovered Tim McGuire’s excellent “This I believe about journalism, newspapers and the future of media” via a long “synopsis” of it by GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram, who I follow on Twitter and enjoy greatly. At first I was tempted just to read Mathew’s version, “Journalism: The best of times, and the worst of times,” and retweet his link. Then I paused and followed the link he provided to Tim’s blog at Arizona State University. I’m glad I did and I hope you will go to the original and read it as well even if I share a few passages below that I especially like.
I was struck about my behavior in this instance and my general sense of late that too often the original source of good insight can get obscured as we summarize, curate, regurgitate and re-opinionate (if that’s a word). Too often these secondary versions get more attention than the original. I’m pledging to try harder to dig to the original source and share it, rather than just clicking retweet on an intermediary. I hope you will too.
Now, a few passages I found most relevant (though it’s so chockfull of great passages it’s hard to choose):
By the same token, the idea that legacy media can find a silver bullet such as tablets, or pay walls, or reinvigoration of old advertising models is silly and reckless. The only silver bullet is dramatic reinvention.
Echoing the value-added idea I’ve written about in the past:
If publishers think a pay wall is a seamless re-creation of the past they are indeed on the road to perdition. Increasing consumer revenue from people willing to pay should be the central idea and that only comes from adding value. Adding value to news products needs to be far more targeted than it has been.
And a theme that I hope we can work on in Philadelphia:
Covering city council meetings and boring feature stories on school principals will not cut it. Successful news operations will redefine local news as true accountability reporting in local areas. They will make the issues from that city council meeting relevant to people concerned about the livability of their city. That will require real reporting resources and it cannot be done on the cheap.
Thanks, Tim, for an inspiring piece.