Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'Angry journalist' martinez in context

This is from my introductory remarks before Kiyoshi Martinez' Monday appearance on campus at WIU.

Obviously, journalism today is different than ever.

But its fundamentals are mostly the same: Informing and entertaining audiences honestly.

It’s changed from when I was a 16-year-old sportswriter for a weekly and a 28-year-old editor of a rock ‘n’ politics newspaper, a 35-year-old entertainment editor at a Washington, D.C. newsweekly, and a 41-year-old environmental reporter for a daily.

But that was evolution, from manual typewriters and some areas where newswomen were banned, from Linotypes and “hot lead” done in composing rooms, in markets where TV photographers shot film that needed developing, to offset production and computers using programming in Fortran and Cobol and a flawed but sometimes useful Freedom of Information Act to searchable data bases and copy desks that have crack designers as well as word specialists

In the last couple of years, that evolution has been upended by a revolution, one that has negatives, such as an unsustainable business model, to positives, from multi-media handheld devices you can use to call, text or Twitter, from choices of content from thousands of magazines and other print, web sites, radio and podcasts, and traditional TV. Our guest is going to share some ideas on the positive opportunities that, if ignored, could be negatives.

Again, journalism is different than ever. But isn’t everything? I know a couple of economics-major seniors who planned on being hedge-fund managers and they’re thinking of career changes after last week. Next week, the Chicago Tribune is unveiling its new look and feel.

Through change, drawing on foundations you build here, you can develop two key things: the self-reliance that’s invaluable to journalists—not being dependent on one source or your parents or teachers— and a zeal for lifelong learning – from do-it-yourself blogs now to internships to training.

In fact, I’m taking a webinar on Thursday.