Wild River Review
Wild River Review
Connecting People, Places, and Ideas: Story by Story
May 2010
Open Borders

April 14, 2010

The New Journalism? What is It?

Filed under: WRR@LARGE — Tags: , , , , — joystocke @ 9:43 am

Editor’s Note:  The following email was sent to our Wild Table Editor, Warren Bobrow.  It speaks to our mission to publish thoughtful, edited pieces. As we enter our fifth year, we hereby launch, The Slow Web Movement:

“I’ve been in journalism for more than 30 years, all my working life and so have been swept up in the devaluation of the American press and all the effects both cultural and personal.

I’ve seen Newsweek,the magazine where I used to be a copy and layout editor, become a shadow of its former self, and I’m seeing most newspapers stumble all over themselves trying to stay viable on the Internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the digitalization of the media and for an oldster (over 50), I’ve embraced it and kept up pretty well.

When I was still an editor, I was the first person at the Courier News, to start shooting videos,human interest, feature videos, as did others, but at the time there was no audience for them.

They were presented properly on our site, but apparently the only videos that get big numbers are crimes and disasters. To that end, The New York Times, which invested millions in their online technology, is the only major newspaper with a decent multimedia interface.

Because the corporate masters are trying to straddle both the print and Web platforms without doling out anything more resources, staffers like me are being worked to the bone as our bosses demand variations of product on our blogs, on Twitter, in photo galleries – and all the while we must still maintain a volume of feature-length stories for print as well!

And editorial standards for the print stories remain more exacting than the loose, first-person, more colloquial reports that are the norm for blogs.

Any single one of these efforts could occupy a staffer full-time, but we’re expected to do it all, with daily and weekly deadlines, and I’m seeing my colleagues burn out around me, as am I. However, even if there weren’t a recession, I’m a single mother with a son about to enter college, so I won’t be taking it easy any time soon!

I think you’re very talented, with a great photographic eye and you pick up on good details for stories — but for your purposes, what I think doesn’t matter, now that I’m a reporter too, not a Gannett editor.

First, they did away with the locally zoned community life sections I was editing, then when I was editing and laying out the editorial pages, they regionalized that and switched from the only paginating software that I knew… so I would have been out on the street with the other 90,000 Gannett Inc. employees who were ousted in the past couple of years if I hadn’t developed cred with my bosses and proved my knowledge of and interest in my specific area of interest, the food world, to them…

Name withheld by request.

Joy E. Stocke is Editor in Chief of Wild River Review.

Warren Bobrow created the Wild Table Blog.

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1 Comment

  1. I understand your pain sista!

    It would be interesting to get responses to “marginalized mid-life journalist” from the twenty-something hopefuls: those college interns who are willing to work for nothing – to gain experience – and have taken over the publishing world. What do they think the future holds for them?

    Comment by abrenner — April 15, 2010 @ 11:54 am

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