After judging the video categories in this month NPPA Monthly Multimedia Contest, I am disheartened at the overall quality of the storytelling being entered. Entries are down by a third. I’m wondering if it’s because of the recent layoffs sweeping our industry? Or maybe other producers, like me, are being asked to focus on more traditional photojournalism for the newspaper. It could also be everyone is too depressed to do good work.
These are dark times. The best and the brightest are being forced out on the street daily. But what of the rest of the journalists who, with some luck, will be the last few standing in their gutted newsrooms? I, for one, didn’t spend the last five years learning multimedia skills to just roll over and die. I keep telling myself to look at the big picture. The media pundits have been predicting the collapse of newspapers for years. And now that it’s here, we are all feeling the pain. The key to survival is being able to make it through this slow transition from print to online.
The mass slaughter will continue for some time, but when it ends-and it will end, publishers will have to make some pretty tough decisions. I think everyone is in agreement that the future journalism is primarily online. Great journalism is not about the delivery method, but it’s embedded in the words, pictures and videos that reach out to our communities and the world.
Beyond being terrified of my short-term future, I am also cautiously optimistic. Hopefully, I will be allowed to be a part of the reimagining of journalism. It is still pretty fuzzy about what form it will take. Everyone left will need to be an innovator. If we can find a revenue model that works, then I hope a journalism renaissance will take place. Freed of the legacy chains of the past, new opportunities will surely germinate.