“Journalism has no future.”
-Mike Hogan, Course Co-ordinator, Cardiff School of Journalism
The future of journalism is dead, according to some instructors. Mike Hogan thinks that people no longer want to be told what is going on. He says that Journalism is just noise and gossip–noise that accompany events that would still take place regardless. The digital communication age is near and “old-fashioned journalists” aren’t needed anymore. We have Youtube. We have Google. We have the world at our fingertips, and we don’t need ye ol’ Gatekeeper deciding what we need to know or how much of it to divulge.
So, what’s the big deal? Does the really mean that the future of journalism is dead, or did Hogan really just want to stir up some decent discussion for once?
It’s true that journalism is like gossip, but this is a simile. They share some characteristics, but the one key element that sets journalism apart is objectivity. Gossip is merely the discussion of people, while Journalism is the discussion of events and how they [i]affect[/i] people. Eleanor Roosevelt once said that great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.
The “digital era of journalists” aren’t real journalists. What they practice cannot be considered legitimate journalism. They are taking part in an elaborate, virtual form of gossip. They’re just another version of chatty cafeteria teens, except this time they’ve got broadband.
To liken journalism to loud noise accompanying events, events that would happen without it, is just academic verbal vomit. What does that even imply? I suppose Hogan is saying that a war will go on whether there’s a journalist covering the story or not, so the extra clutter and noise brought about by media coverage only clouds what’s really happening. What he’s described there is poor journalism, not the craft itself. A good journalist doesn’t contribute just noise to an event. He adds context. He adds a level of exploration that would not normally be evident without the careful research and analysis that goes into the art.
Perhaps a better way for Hogan to stir up discussion in is classroom would be to say, “citizen journalism has no future.” People want to be told, but they don’t want to hear it from some redneck with a camcorder. 50% of the content on Youtube is garbage, 49% is just gossip, and there’s a small, lonely 1% that is screaming to the world, “This is the mass communication device we’ve been waiting for.” Maybe we should start using it to share something important, useful, and thought-provoking, instead of sensationalism or the latest Internet meme.