I’m torn …. We are living in one of the scariest times in journalism.
From 2003 to 2012, 16,200 full-time jobs were lost in newsrooms, and 38,000 magazine jobs were lost (PEW Research). ASNE’s report also found one-third of copy editors lost their jobs. Total newspaper revenue is down 49% since 2003, PEW reports. We’re seeing more cases of fabrication by professionally trained journalists, and the plagiarism hits just keep coming.
On the other hand, I find the challenge invigorating. We needed a kick in the butt. Maybe not one this severe, but a bit of a shake up was in order. Some of us were a bit complacent. We served up whatever news we saw fit. We expected people to eat it and like it.
Now we’re fighting, scratching and clawing for every reader. Every source. Every story. We’re in the fight of our lives.
And it’s that fight that brings out the best and worst in some of us.
I’m lucky. I get to work with people who deserve a gold medal who excel in this type of chaos.
To that end, this week, I’ll be in Nashville meeting with the leaders of 20 national journalism organizations at EIJ14 for what I hope will be the first of many journalism leadership summits.
These people aren’t going quietly into the night. Nor are they going to let their members.
Some of the questions we’ll be weighing at the summit are:
If we could reinvent the world of journalism organizations, what would it look like? How can we work together to better serve our members?
What can we do collectively to help our industry? Can we put more pressure on the White House for transparency? Should we lobby for net neutrality? Can we help save jobs? How can we help offer training?
And how can we, as journalism organizations, survive and thrive when revenue and member numbers are shrinking?
If you have any suggestions on how you think we can better serve our members, shoot me a note.
To help us see where we stand, my American Copy Editors Society colleague Fred Vultee, put together a quick survey for participating organizations. Most reported concern about revenue and interest in collaborating on conferences. (Fred and ACES will have more info on this later.)
I don’t know what the answers are, but I do know that there isn’t a better group of people than working on finding them. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
The participating organizations are:
American Copy Editors Society
American Society of Business Press Editors
American Society of News Editors
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
Associated Press Media Editors
Investigative Reporters and Editors
Journalism and Women Symposium
Native American Journalists Association
National Association of Black Journalists
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Online News Association
Organization of News Ombudsmen
Public Radio News Directors Inc.
Radio Television Digital News Association
Religion Newswriters Association
Society of American Business Writers and Editors
Society for News Design
Society for Professional Journalists
• A special thanks to the Society of Professional Journalists, which is hosting the conference, and the American Copy Editors Society, which is picking up the tab for lunch. And also to SPJ’s President David Cuillier, who casually mentioned over drinks in St. Louis that it would be interesting if all the j org leaders got together. And then seemed to not bat an eye when I asked if we could invade SPJ’s conference two years later.