Media ProductionStrategy & Marketing

I Miss Traditional Newspaper Editors

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.

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7 Comments

  1. It is so cool that you would post this.

    I have joined forces with an amazing group of people and we formed the Resolute Media Group. We are developing a network of on-line conservative newspapers.
    Were launching June 1st in the Dallas/Ft. Worth market and in Austin, Tx. We actually had lunch week before last with Brian Fisher who wrote the great book Media Revolution. By the way he speaks very highly of you.

    Our goal is to marry the old “Top Down editor style news with “New Media” opportunities.”

    I will send you a link when we are up and running. I would truly value your opinion.

    Blessings are abundant in American and our plan is to work hard daily to keep it that way.

    Thank you for all you do, you are a huge influence on our team.
    Alice Linahan

  2. Hi Phil

    I think what we are missing is Reflection.

    We used to open up the paper with morning coffee, read the articles – and then reflect on those articles – considering what they meant.

    But now we get news as it happens but have no time to reflect before the next piece of urgent news appears. Instead of reflecting – we react.

    Josh Reid

  3. One of my favorite bloggers, Jeff Jarvis over at buzzmachine.com (not a Christian btw), has been discussing on This Week in Google, among other places, how the greatest need we have in today’s media world is for “content curators.” We need people that can come along and perform the job of the traditional newspaper editor. The challenge is finding that person or group of people, learning to trust their curation, and then consuming what they send us.

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