What if the middle man disappeared? (Or picked his battles)
How people get their news is changing, which changes how the news is made. I’m not sure anyone really knows where it’s going (and I’m sure I don’t).
To be clear, I’m not saying I hope this is where we’re heading, I’m musing out loud about something I find partly ominous. I also see it as a possibility if certain existing traits of the current news environment thrive and outcompete others.
Follow your own news
What if mainstream media organizations gave up on covering anything that came written well in a press release? As in, if there’s enough in the release that “churnalism” could be practiced, it just isn’t.
What, role, then, would journalists play? One possible path (and my hope, in this thought-experiment) is that by curbing time spent on these easy tasks, newsrooms running at full-tilt would have more time to do the hard stuff, like finding more stories someone hasn’t already told, or more thorough information to tell them better.
It’s like that often-retold tale about the jar with sand and rocks, meant to remind us that if you fill your days with little things there’s no room for the big priorities. This would be a switch to more rocks, less sand. I’m happy to say I’m seeing some shift in this direction at CBC right now.
The other possibility is newsrooms would just keep shrinking, and more former reporters would go work for the feeds.
Okay, there’s one dodgy idea. I wonder what cool experiments might already be underway, when it comes to picking battles. Where do you think the news is going?