The Future of Journalism Is In the Hands of Idiots
Jeff Jarvis, former TV Guide and People TV critic and founder of Entertainment Weekly, is now an internet expert. He was one of those guys who became internet-famous back when there were like six bloggers, all of whom were guys whom 9/11 turned into HAWKISH ACTION HEROES, and they all brayed about the Islamist Menace and felt quite proud of themselves for being former liberals who grew balls and for some reason none of them went away? (Another one of those guys is Nick Denton!) Anyway! Then he became an internet futurist, which means spending a lot of time gloating about the death of print and babbling about the future of media gallivanting around to conferences and "consulting" and just wasting everyone's time with obnoxious writing and simplistic evangelizing for a miserable digital future. Now he's in an immature fight with Ron Rosenbaum, who is much smarter than he is, if also old and blinkered, about THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM. It's fucking bleak. Rosenbaum just took him down in Slate, partly for his new book about Google that happens to be just made up of things Jeff Jarvis thinks about Google. Here is the important part of the rant:
But what makes him wined, dined, and comped by Dubai to fly to self-proclaimed summits all over the world? It's not just that corporations are dumb enough to waste what's left of stockholders' money to pay for someone to tell them to "listen to the market." No, it's Jarvis' pretensions to guru-hood, his gnomic "laws" and pronouncements. Firing people on the writing side because of the incompetence of the business side is a long tradition in the media business, and Jarvis gives management a New Age fig leaf with which to shift the blame from their own incompetence. He offers chestnuts like, "The link changes everything," "Stuff sucks" ("Nobody wants to be in the business of stuff anymore. … Google's economy is more appealing"), "Atoms are a drag," and—yes, his contribution to the "X is the new Y" genre—"Small is the new big." Yeah, down with stuff! Let them eat fake. Sleep in buildings not made with atoms. Everyone should be a new-media consultant, and then we won't need any media at all.
Hah. Rosenbaum is frankly far too kind to Jarvis, but Jarvis responded with a snippy post about how Rosenbaum is stupid and he always confuses Salon with Slate, a joke that is about 10 years past making any sense, because Slate is now a Washington Post-owned established web magazine and Salon is just pure crazytown. Jarvis takes it all so personally! Is it his fault people keep calling him to discuss the future of media? No! It's the fault of the people who call Jeff Jarvis looking for insight into anything. LOOK AT HOW MUCH GOOD WORK HE DOES:
Just this morning I attended - busted! - another conference where I talked over coffee and croissant with chief executives of four newspaper companies as they brainstormed new models for news. I ran a conference at CUNY last week in new business models for news. I am starting an organization at CUNY to find, explore, and share best practices in new business models for news. I teach a course in entrepreneurial journalism in hopes supporting small sparks of innovation. Full disclosure: I also advise or invest in a number of related startups including Daylife, Publish2, 33Across, Black20, Brightcove, Outside.in (and haven’t made a penny on any et). I hope the profession - or someone - finds ways to save journalism.
We're sure one of those terribly named startups will save journalism forever! Anyway Jarvis is pretty sure the way to "save journalism" is to turn it over to "the market," which is always right, and in practical terms obviously that means a world where positioning your content to make the front page of Digg is more or less the goal, so listicles and tits are seeming like probably the model we're going to be dealing with, in this wonderful future. Of course there is no right answer to this question, and cranky old Ron Rosmbaum doesn't have a better idea, he just feels bad for people who write ten-part newspaper serieses on police torture and then their newspapers fold. We're sure there's room for your ten-part series on police torture at The Huffington Post, friend! Or, at least, they might have an intern link to it. Which is just as good. In closing, we hate the internet.