I was totally fascinated to see this journalism panel because it was headed up by one of the most unlikely person: Craig Newmark.
Newmark is the founder of Craigslist, the website program that has fundamentally changed advertising and has sent waves throughout the journalism industry.
Newspapers used to lean heavily on classified advertisement revenue, and when Craigslist digitized that, newspapers suffered.
According to information provided by Kelly McBride, co-panelist and senior faculty at the Poynter Institute, almost one quarter of working journalists have lost their jobs since 2007. For every $1 gained in digital advertising, $7 were lost in the print product (and that’s being generous, according to McBride.)
Newspaper revenues are down 40 percent, and there’s a crisis of confidence.
So why is Newmark there?
“I take a lot of grief from certain people who see you as the beginning of the decline,” McBride said to Newmark.
“The 21st century is the problem,” Newmark quipped back.
Newmark was outspoken about how he is not a part of the journalism industry, but he believes in it and wants it to succeed. McBride said she and others at the Poynter Institute are bringing together some of the best minds in the industry to analyze the framework and see if it can “make a pivot” to make it successful again.
They discussed some of the changing parts of the industry. McBride said the Society of Professional Journalists has standards such as “seek the truth” will remain a central function in any era of journalism, but other parts of the industry are changing.
McBride and Newmark agreed that it’s becoming increasingly important for professionals who are trained in reporting, gathering information, and disseminating truth versus lies to curate content.
For example, they showed this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2EfmX6LoAA
This is CNN’s Soledad O’Brien taking on John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire. McBride said O’Brien and her staff knew that Sununu was going to inaccurately quote statistics and documents, and that she needed to be prepared and call him out on that. McBride called it the journalist’s duty to “get smart and speak with authority with sources instead of trusting everything they say.
“Reporters are smart: they typically know when they’re being lied to,” Newmark said. “The thing is that if you know something is awry, you smell it.”
Beth Brown, editor in chief