As digital platforms take over classic newspaper journalism, I’m starting to miss the old news world. Obviously, there are great things happening today, and I get an enormous amount of information from RSS feeds, social media, and other digital sources. However, I really like sitting down at the kitchen table, pouring a cup of coffee, and opening up a newspaper. But the change is much more than the smell of newspaper print.
The best editors at great newspapers were really guides. They knew how to parse through the thousands of stories out there and guide us through what was important. Rather than scroll aimlessly through hundreds of RSS feeds, a good newspaper prioritizes the news and helps me navigate what’s most important.
The truth is that this has been a real challenge to duplicate online. Sure we have some great aggregators, blogs, and other sources of news and events. But it’s not the same as a classic editor. Speed is partly to blame. We think that because online news hits us quicker, it’s a better way to get the news. But other than a quick note that something’s “breaking,” immediacy doesn’t supply much depth or insight.
Don’t worry. I’m not a Luddite, and I recognize there’s no going back. But I wonder if we’ll find the online algorithm that can replace the seasoned insights of a veteran editor.