My career began in daily journalism.
I’m tempted to tell my personal story of daily newspapers and how I found my way to the Internet. How a guy like me figured out that Internet might be the future.
When USA Today came out in 1982, the McPaper (as it was jokingly referred to then) was considered the future of journalism. Shorter stories, bright graphics, USA Today appeared to compete with television, which had been eroding newspaper readership.
Fast-forward to a headline from yesterday, March 23: “USA Today Rewrites Strategy to Cope with Internet.”
Read the story, if you will. Interesting stuff. There’s a mention of QR Codes (well, they just call them bar codes). There’s discussion of the iPad application. Some blogs were adopted into the traditional media model. Talks of extreme sports and writing content to attract advertisers (hard-hitting, traditional journalism will return someday). And bright graphics along with shorter stories.
Anything missing? Hmmm?
No mention of social media (other than blogs adapted from an acquisition). Yes, you can “like” things. You can “share” stories. The same ‘ole BS everyone else does. Nothing innovative. Nothing new.
I’m out looking for work and I am a former journalist, but I would not likely take a job in newspapers with one exception — change. I don’t mean change a little like USA Today has. It would have to change a lot. Revolutionize.
Even the so-called new USA Today isn’t enough change to work in today’s new world. An app here, a share there, a graphic or two and a blog post won’t cut it.
It’s going to be a long goodbye because print journalism still doesn’t get what I got years ago when I switched.