Change The Game

Adapt or die.

I just finally saw the movie Moneyball. I’m tempted to show it to all my journalism students from now on. I wish somebody had told me when I was young that maybe, just maybe, you don’t always have to play by the rules to win.

It’s not so much a movie about baseball, or even about data vs. intuition, but a movie about disruption. When the game isn’t fair – and it never is – think different.

It is making me think about of last month’s Carnival of Journalism prompt by Michael Rosenblum and how my own thinking, not only about journalism but about life in general, has evolved over the past few years. Institutions and established ways of doing things can be powerful and valuable. But not only to they often outlive their utility and sustainability, they often serve to blind us to possibilities. We can spend our lives pouring our limited energy and time into propping up failing institutions or patterns of thinking that ultimately exploit our labor, or we can change the game.

The Carnival focused on money and whether journalists should fear it or strive to make more of it, prompting many responses suggesting that passion is more important than dollars. But the larger question isn’t compensation per se but it’s what you do with your passion – do you pour it into somebody else’s often tired ideas, or do you use it to push forward? Do you think like a serf or an entrepreneur?

I read a story in the Guardian today about how one of the top five regrets of the dying is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” But it’s not so much “work” that is so bad. Working toward something that you believe in and that engages you creatively is a good thing, even if it involves risk. Working for the proverbial Man and doing things as they’ve always been done without questioning, that you may live to regret.

This post probably is incoherent…I can’t really put into words what is in my head right now. But one thing I’ve always loved about sports is that they show us a microcosm of the very essence of a lot of what life itself is about.




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3 responses to “Change The Game

  1. Great movie, and a great post, Carrie. Not “incoherent” at all. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Brian

    Great post.

    The idea that sometimes you need to change the rules seems so important. It goes to the idea that we shouldn’t be afraid to let the institutions die, as long as we make sure journalism lives.

    A friend of mine and I have kicked around this idea for a couple of years, but we haven’t felt safe enough to break away from the traditional institutions. It may indicate the idea isn’t ready yet, but long-term I think journalists need to focus on creating new paths while focusing on their craft rather than the institution.

  3. Thanks for the comments 🙂 Brian, I think sometimes you can get started by bringing disruptive thinking into an organization, or just by bringing into how you act within an organization. You may not have the power to change the organization itself and trying to do so many be a waste of time, but sometimes you can change the way you act within it.

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