Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Change Is The Only Constant

The proverbial "event" is always an interesting way to pass the time - whether it be a corporate function designed to quell worker complaints with a little social lubricant or a gala announcing the finalists of a national photo competition - they all seem to have the a few things in common.  Free booze, different and potentially interesting people (or at least the same old boring people in a slightly more interesting environment) and something to do (look at photos, play some trivia or bowls or any other inane activity to distract once the conversation gets a bit stilted).  As my ladyfriend was organising and a small (but doughty) man was DJing I had more than enough reason to attend. Had my credentials questioned a couple of times and nobody could really argue with my qualifications of 'Consumer of Journalism'.  As at all of the media union events there was the typical whining about the slow and steady destruction of journalism by the heavyweights and a plea to all and sundry of the importance of keeping things just the way they are.  Try as I might I can't completely sympathise with this argument - yes, it is not necessarily a good thing that the big media companies in Australia (and the rest of the world) are cutting back their investment in certain areas of their field - there are less journalists being placed overseas and there's more reliance on stories from the wire.  Is this a bad thing?  I really don't think so.  
I find it really interesting to hear the journalists, photographers and editors all complaining about how bad the quality of journalism is these days.  Basically, they're ripping into themselves.  When they complain about a story that's not properly researched, is full of errors or just doesn't have the right insight then the person to blame is the guy (or girl) who wrote it and the guy (or girl) who put it into the paper (or onto the TV or the 'net or wherever it goes before it's fed to the consumers like me).  The fact of the matter is that we live in a globalised economy which means EVERYTHING is being consolidated - the consumer only has so much time to devote to the consumption of news and there are a lot of alternatives out there - like it or not, but bloggers and foreign news outlets are instantly accessible to everyone these days - there are many alternative points of view available and of course I'll use a news aggregator to help me filter the crap out - I use Google to sort out all of the information I try to access from the web, with the huge amount of news information out there why wouldn't I use Google to consolidate that as well?  The only constant in this world is change - old school journalism houses realise this - cutting back on the number of journalists employed by their paper or their TV station is not a symptom of a decline in journalistic standards - it's these guys trying to adjust to the world they inhabit.  Yes, their executives are getting paid too much and their journalists too little but are their any industries in the world where this does not occur?  Car factories do this, agricultural industry does it and even the finance houses do it.  Living in the comfortable past is not going to save the world of journalism - change is always difficult - especially for those who have carved out their niche, but everything evolves or it dies.  The same is true of journalists.

No comments: