The New “Press-Sphere”?

Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine wrote a post yesterday that I liked on what he calls the new “press-sphere” and wanted to call attention to for those that haven’t seen it.

As my previous posts suggest, I tend to be fundamentally and unapologetically a traditionalist who believes that (gasp) the majority of those who work in the dreaded mainstream media (I reserve the right to exempt some of what passes for cable “news” when I say this) still play a critical role in a democratic society and do very important, difficult work — and that more often than not, they do it pretty well (with plenty of room for improvement, yes).

I’d like to think that this isn’t an entirely elitist or Lippmann-esque view. I’m all for regular folks getting into the act of journalism, which I define as a method of verifying and transparently presenting information (following from the Bible of journalism, Elements) that you don’t need any special credentials to use. I simply remain suspicious of citizen journalism because I’m not sure that people who don’t get paid to do what is the often time-consuming and thankless work of reporting and editing are truly, when it all settles out, going to end up picking up much of the slack left by the devastating layoffs of their paid counterparts.

So although I’m not sure I would marginalize the traditional press as much as Jarvis does in his many clever graphic representations of new ways of thinking about the media today, I do think that he’s got some good ideas here…especially good for visual thinkers (I’m a word person myself, but even I can appreciate a good drawing sometimes).

Basically, he is arguing here that the news process is no longer a linear one in which journalists produce stories to be consumed by passive audiences, but rather one in which news production has become a long, messy, continuous, interactive process. (Personally, I think that there is still a role for the art of “storytelling” in all of this, but that’s another post.)

I posted one representation that I particularly like below, but check out his post for more. I think this is interesting because it depicts a very polychronic way of viewing time in the news production process rather than monochronic as is currently typical of most news routines, as I’ve written about before, citing MIT organizational culture guru Edgar Schein (2004). Newsrooms are currently set up in ways in which news is a defined product that moves through a series of boxes (reporter, assigning editor, copy desk, etc. etc.). As newsrooms think about new ways to restructure their work processes, these diagrams may be instructive.


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Filed under News routines and processes

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