Is the old media morphing into the new

By Jim Stanton

The recent demise of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, after 150 years of publishing was a shock to the old media. Similarly, the death of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer came as a shock to many living in the Seattle area.

We know that the new media – the Huffington Post for example – chuckle with glee at such events, bragging that as the new media, they saw this coming and are leading the way to a promised land of citizen journalism with unlimited free information at the click of a mouse.

Let’s stop and consider the merits of this claim. Most newspapers today are becoming the ‘new media’ as they develop their blog capacity, send journalist out to cover stories with video cameras to capture stories and upload them to their newspaper websites. Newspapers across the country are buying radio and TV airtime to advertise their websites as the “go to” place for up-to-date i-news.

Newspaper journalists and columnists now write ‘new media’ blogs, in addition to their ‘old media’ stories because blogs are seen by their editors as powerful tools to obtain news content, as it is developing, to help them stay ahead of the curve.

Some folks feel the ‘old media’ provides more accurate information and a degree of accountability to their editors, publishers and shareholders. The ‘New 2.0 Media’ are accountable to no one but themselves.

This may indicate that consumers are not so much concerned with the medium as they are with the content. If ‘old media’ can provide current information in the ‘new media’ format, they may be on the road to survival.

What you get from trained journalists, over amateur bloggers, is assurance of quality and accountability.

Arguments can be made by bloggers about individual citizens having the resources to generate the quantity and quality of news to which citizens are accustomed. ‘Old news’ is hard to gather and is expensive. Journalists are empowered to write without fear because their employers defend their right to do so.

Bloggers do not have these same protections.