Guest post on NPR.org: The Future of Journalism

July 6, 2009

The following is an excerpt from a guest post I recently wrote for NPR.org’s Intern Edition blog. They are doing a series of guest posts asking young people to write about their thoughts on the future of journalism. To resad the full post, check out the link below.

In the year 2015, the New York Times as we have known it will cease to exist.

It’s now known as the newspaper of record, with a decorated, storied history spanning over a century and a half. Its Pulitzer- and Nobel- prize-winning columnists have become household names: Friedman, Dowd, Krugman, Collins, Brooks, Rich, Kristof, Douthat.

But now  the paper that has for years been the star of modern journalism is struggling just to survive under the combined pressures of a $250 million high-interest loan from a Mexican billionaire and the lack of a viable business model in an era of declining ad revenues and that thing we call…The Internet. The internet has now become the premiere way for Americans to get our news, and the old tradition of starting off mornings with the newspaper over breakfast has been traded in for hastily checking your Blackberry for news while in line at Starbucks.

But although the fate of the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets looks bleak, the future of journalism looks, from my vantage point, exactly the opposite — I think journalism has a bright, exciting future. Because now we see the rise of citizen journalism, where everyone is empowered to to contribute to and report the news. And with more people and more diverse perspectives reporting and collecting news, our collective access to the information we need can only increase.

The new journalism is about citizen journalism and community journalism. Blogging and the internet have helped connect reporters with their audiences and reduced the barriers between them, and now everyone can report. Everyone has access to publish content, to report events as they see them happening, and to have their accounts read and heard by hundreds, thousands, even millions, around the world. A YouTube user could create a video and get 10 million views. A blogger broke the story about Khalid Sheikh Mohamed being waterboarded 183 times and then it became a mainstream news story. Twitter users in Iran are sharing their accounts of election protests taking place there, while much of the mainstream media has been banned from reporting on the events.

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