The now and the next generation…

It’s interesting listening to the next generation of passionate journalists. One of my students left for Mississippi a month or so back…very frustrated and concerned about what kind of jobs would be waiting for her when she graduates.

Plus I spent a weekend right after that in the company of Amanda Emily, new media geek from Spokane, WA. She is the transition generation…those who are living through the chaos of what journalism used to be and what it is morphing into (whatever the heck that is…).

Both Amanda and – oh heck, may as well name her – Catie Lau took to heart every lesson on ethics and law and doing the right thing they ever encountered. They both want a world where there is black and white, and they are riding white horses. They want the audience to believe the message.

And there’s a third member of this squadron of throw-backs. A intern/assignment desk assistant from a former station who wanted more than anything in the world to be a reporter and tell the truth and get the story out. She wanted a white horse too, but sadly is not in the business…she lost out because she was (a) too outspoken and (b) believe it not – too beautiful. (Looks can be an asset up to a point and then they are a distraction.)

Amanda and Catie…keep your heads high and never ever give up. So long as you still believe in what is best about journalism, I will continue to read and watch and listen to the news. I too need something to believe in…


5 thoughts on “The now and the next generation…

  1. Cyndy-
    I’ve been reading and appreciating your blog, and sharing it with students for the past year or so. I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your work in the large sense. As to this particular post. It reminded me of one I made on my blog recently ( It is student journalists that I talk of in the last portion of the post.

    We have a good job, don’t we?
    All the best-

  2. There is no black and white in this world, just shades of grey.

    The future, the community still sees “the media” as “the media”. When the s*** hits the fan, they still turn to their local channel and they still expect the news to be the curators of information on events in their community.

    The problems is many.

    Institutional knowledge in newsrooms is being chased out in favor of the younger/cheaper crowd who have no ties to their communities. Which brings up the second point that is also attributed to that loss of knowledge.

    Newsrooms are cut to the bone that filling a day’s worth of a news hole is a challenge and thus all one sees is the cliched house fires, stupid shallow liveshots, and the latest accidents de jour that are easy to turn – in otherwords, what gets aired doesn’t affect the viewers.

    Stupid tricks such as the going live via Skype that was all the rage last winter. I’ve had viewers walk up to me in grocery stores and tell me “why the h*** did I buy an HD television when you people are just going to air that s***?” You cannot surrender to YouTube, you have to stand out from them. Just because people watch crappy video on their computers, doesn’t mean they also want to do the same on their big screen televisions.

    Being a member of your community seems to escape many. I’ve watched reporters get pissed when a member of the community “bothers” them with a story idea via email. Heck I’ve watched them hop onto social networking and then instead of using it to connect with their community, they use it to connect with colleagues and basically tell the public, “you are below me and I don’t want to talk to you” Do enough of that, and they’ll quit watching your channel. On the other hand, I once used twitter heavily in Spokane to the point that I would talk to people and occasionally round up friends at other stations in town and organize informal “tweet-ups” that the public was invited to. The fruit of just being a member of the community? People started pitching story ideas that made it out of the morning meeting and onto the air.

    Yes, the Internet has brought forth earth-shaking changes in which the public can be their own journalist, but dear God, if you have a station issued badge, you are still seen as the authority of local events and are the ones expected to curate all that information and get it right and put it into terms the public can grok. I accept this change, the audience is smarter than me in some cases. If they want to correct me on something that is wrong, please let them, unlike some journalists I know, I don’t take offense to it – at least then I know they are watching me and have a stake is what is being aired/posted.

    Rant over, I know I make no sense after I drink.

  3. Newell – Carson Spur coming back from Tahoe on 88.

    Amanda – keep being the best you can be (no this is NOT a plea to enter the military)…you have it in you to make changes that will impact the industry for the better. Stay focused – and stay accepting.

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