New Columbia report on disrupted news universe focuses on journalism more than audience | Nieman


If there’s one overarching critique I’d make of the report (admittedly, after a single quick read), it’s that its focus on the practices of journalists creates a blind spot when dealing with the practices of the audience. That, of course, is a natural byproduct of the fact a report can’t focus on everything, and it makes sense that journalism educators would want to focus on the production end of journalism. But for me, the most interesting developments of 2012 have been shifts in news consumption — the reframing of the article, the rebundling of the news package, and the reflowing of news into new delivery mechanisms. Aggregators and platform builders are getting smarter and more attuned to the ways people want to get news.

The report doesn’t use the words iPad, tablet, Android, or smartphone — all of which are key to the redefinition how news gets consumed. The word “mobile” does appears a handful of times, but only in passing. These shifts on the consumption end, driven primarily by the adoption of new devices and platforms, are already having big implications on news production, and they’re only going to grow. (It’s also the sector where capital is flowing these days.)

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Joshua Benton’s review of “Post-Industrial Journalism” is polite but damning.

And it is a surprising weakness in something coming from the likes of Clay Shirky et al. But it is a classic problem — dealing with journalism from the inside out rather than from the outside in.

Too much of the industry’s (and, yes, there is still an industry by accepted rather than selective criteria) efforts over the past decade have been more internal reorganization and attempts at harmonization between previously competing devision, less actually producing something substantially different if not also more valued by news users.