Feeling Buggy Whipped?

As someone who found his calling and living in newspapers, words like these make the gray hairs on my neck stand up:

“If we are to preserve journalism and its social-service functions, maybe we would be wise not to focus too much on traditional media. The death spiral might be irreversible. We should look for ways to keep the spirit and tradition of socially responsible journalism alive until it finds a home in some new media form whose nature we can only guess at today.”

So said newsman-turned-professor Philip Meyer in an essay in the Columbia Journalism Review. I found it while reading a blog post about how to inject new thinking into newsrooms. That post was written by Tim Porter, a journalist-turned-blogger who hired me for my first newspaper job.

On behalf of the dwindling ranks of those who still hold these positions of pay and prestige, I welcome Tim’s efforts (then and now!).

Meanwhile, I’m keeping an eye out for the launch this weekend of Ourmedia, a project involving JD Lasica, another former news guy who seems focused on the second half of Meyer’s prescription.

The Ourmedia website says “our vision is to bring personal media to millions of users’ desktops through playlists, video jukeboxes, visual albums, and built-in media libraries … that can be freely shared.”

Lasica was an editor of We Media, the white paper that gave me the final push to create this blog, and also provided some of the how-to that helped me climb the learning curve.

Among those expected to join Ourmedia is a small TV documentary group called called The Lexington League. That operation strikes me as Michael Moore with a libertarian slant. In their own words, “The Lexington League is a weekly half hour reality newsmagazine featuring true stories of individuals fighting for freedom against unjust laws, power hungry politicians, and abusive governments.”

As Lasica wrote earlier this week: “A couple of years ago I might have reacted to subjective journalism like this by dismissing it as fundamentally flawed because of its imbalance, or because I didn’t agree with the reporter’s conclusions. Now I just marvel at the sophisticated ways in which people are joining the media conversation.”

Tom Abate