Toronto Star: “Journalists are vanishing. Who will fill the void?” Who filled the void left by brontosaurus?

From Catherine Wallace at Toronto Star:

Could universities or citizen groups collaborate with newsrooms to analyze data, provide information or hold governments to account?

They do now, but they don’t need the newsrooms. We actually don’t need “rooms” any more.

Print is a physical entity. Information is not.

That said, Wallace provides much food for thought:

Some newsrooms have been harder hit, going from perhaps 120 newsroom employees (editors, reporters, photographers, designers, librarians) six years ago to 50 or 60 today. Some smaller newsrooms have closed altogether. This paper, the Toronto Star, had around 400 journalists a decade ago and has about half of that today. More.

And it has never been easier to find alternative points of view. With power comes responsibility, but then it’s best the power belongs to the reader.

Toward the end, the piece hints at the current pleas for financial assistance from Heritage Canada: “Ryerson University journalism associate professor April Lindgren also noted the “keystone role” newspapers play in a local news system when she spoke before the Heritage Committee in October.”

Well, that says it all. Journalists on welfare.

Reality check: I well remember what a brontosaurus the Toronto Star was when the internet was just getting started. A techno peasant freelancer like me, with her own account for years, seemed well ahead of their nerds.

But the internet did not kill traditional news organizations just by existing. It did not kill most industries, actually. It killed these traditional media industries because they couldn’t, by their nature, adapt to the new circumstances it created. The same thing happened to the quill pen, it seems.

See also: Another day in headless chicken reporting from dino media enterprises: Part of the problem in many cases is that dying media industries are not typically hiring from the top of the class. Many of the current meltdowns and freakouts may not even be strongly motivated. Rather, the people involved don’t have a good news sense, and possibly they can’t develop one. Perhaps such qualities are not even sought, praised, or rewarded any more in traditional mainstream media.

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