Friday, August 07, 2009

A little "techy conceit"?

David Sullivan, in one of his usual thoughtful posts, riffs off of Steve Yelvington's recent "Fatal Assumptions" post.

But also note that Yelvington does make a difference between "digital people" and "print people." It's not simply the difference between "old-fashioned people" and "modern people" who are all "journalist people." There are digital people in journalism just the same as there are radio people and TV people and magazine people and newspaper people, just the same as there are investigative reporters and graphic artists and photographers and copy editors and producers. And chances are, after the dust settles, there still will be, even if the newspapers are delivered to a printer in your house or are read on a Kindle with links, and you watch TV programs on your computer screen. Or even if newspapers are delivered by being thrown from cars and people watch TV on televisions.

The idea that all of us were simply meant to evolve from a retrograde print level to a higher digital level is -- a techy conceit, which kicked the confidence out of print people by the commingling of "Web page" with "Internet" when the Internet is really just an incredibly good delivery system and a Web page is just something it can deliver, and is probably an intermediate form. It is just my belief, but new technology usually creates more specialization, not less; and at some future point the idea that one reporter can do a print story and a video story and a blog and a tweet, all of which can be handled by the same editor, will probably be broken apart in some manner. The quality will be insufficient in all media. But that will require news providers to accept that each will occupy a smaller place in the cosmos, and newspapers still don't want to accept that, still want to be the Universal Source.
Read the rest. As usual, it's worth it to stimulate your thinking.

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