The Guardian, which as a needlessly long piece trying to drum up support for journalism is…well-meaning, but clueless.
That cover itself reminds me of my high school Man in Society class, and could very well serve as a collage cover you have to make for your big essay, except it would Margaret Thatcher instead of Theresa May. (When I was in high school, I was wearing my Free Nelson Mandela t-shirt proudly, and it was in my final year when he finally was freed. I was a typical politicized kid who was heavily involved in world issues as well as local ones, and had even given a much-played radio interview on my take on things as I organized one anti-apartheid event in my school that caused controversy and angry parents calling both the school and media outlets to complain about me bringing reality to the classroom. The school caved in by lunch, but the local press loved our event. Even back then, social justice was my life as well as fashion and publishing).
But back to the Guardian.
You do not need to talk about journalism, Ms. Viner.
You need to listen.
You do not need a long article. That is not going to change fortunes. For someone talking about technology, the author should have kept her ideas short to reflect today’s attention spans.
So let me be brief.
Journalism collapsed because of long, meandering pieces that have a confirmation bias.
You need facts. You need to have system of finding, processing, and disseminating facts. You need to get rid of spin and narrative, and have a quality control that is effective in preventing grifters, psychopaths, and narcissists from hijacking your vehicle.
Journalists had that mission over a decade ago, and chose not to accept it. The end.
You had people like me who screamed from the top of my lungs that the Internet was a serious business, that reporters were sloppy and unprepared, that a new system was needed, and it began with a radical new method of educating journalists and altering the method of information-gathering while the Internet was still young and accommodating.
I was dismissed and ignored. I wrote books and articles in places such as Skeptic and Critical review. I even started a hard news site with the idea of fixing a profession.
It meant absolutely nothing. I am female, and unless I am prancing in a Versace gown with a distinctive jiggle, I am blending into white noise.
Now that journalism turned into a hot mess, now we have people such as Katharine Viner making pleas that mean nothing. Journalists never learned to listen, let alone consider they were the ones who needed to make deeper, atomic changes to the way they did business, but learning a new set of rules was, like, really hard.
And so, they paid the price.
It all imploded, and there aren’t that many gullible patrons left to fund a vanity project.
We need an alternative to journalism. Something fresh from scratch, and something that compels those in it never to take anything for granted, and embrace changing and improving what they do as they honour those who began before them.