Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Brisk Journalism Discussion

That's me in the green shirt with my mouth open>

The intensity of the response to a talk I gave today to the Radford Rotary Club on the future of printed news surprised me. What was to have been a 45-minute lunch turned into nearly an hour and a half of back and forth with rapid-fire questions coming from a well-informed group.

My concern with a talk like this is that it's "inside baseball" and people outside journalism will have minimal interest. Wrong! Not only was this room full of business people who are sophisticated and well informed, but those in attendance had their own strong opinions. My basic premise in this talk is that our worry shouldn't be with the delivery system, but with finding a system that pays the journalists and keeps them working. Newspapers, in my estimation, are quickly becoming irrelevant. The question: what's next?

I have some ideas, some numbers, some gossip, some examples, but the truth is that journalism is in an intense state of transition and the only certainty is that it will change and the change will be dramatic, quick and will continue for a good while. Technology is driving it, of course, and nothing is more volatile right now than communications technology.

Today's my 45th anniversary in the business and, frankly, it's never been more exciting than it is at this very moment.

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