I have had people ask me why Canadian journalism imploded first, to which I always say of all the hubris choking the profession, the worst offenders are Canadians who mistake self-congratulation with actual journalism. That humble modest trope that stereotypes Canadians is no where to be found among their journalists.
Take two examples, for instance.
This article headline says it all:
The journalism landscape is looking a lot like Mordor right now, but there are no shortage of heroes trying to save it
Heroes trying to save it. Heroes. That is a lofty assessment of oneself. And saving journalism, meaning keeping the status quo so there is no need to critically look at what the profession has been doing wrong to find themselves in this quagmire in the first place.
Fake news is not to blame.
Big Tech is not to blame.
Russia is not to blame.
Donald Trump is not to blame.
Journalists messed up their own profession because they were too busy being in love with themselves to see that they were not doing their jobs. They had fantasies fuelled by the movie All the President’s Men.
There is no consideration that their methods and techniques are antiquated. There is no drive to improve, evolve, or progress. Just do it the same way in a changing world, and then expect your fortunes to magically transform. Life does not work that way.
The profession did not need “saving”. It needed a revolution.
Now it is too late. It’s dead.
So stop writing ad copy and then pretend it is a news story.
You would think j-school students would see what is happening, and be revolutionaries — rebelling against the status quo.
Not a chance.
The Manitoban has student journalists mindlessly parroting the elders who destroyed their castle:
There are important stories in the newspaper you are reading right now.
Flip or scroll to the news, sports, or arts sections of this paper and you will find articles on peoples’ passions, triumphs, pitfalls, and tribulations.
No, it’s not. There is no experimentation. There is no innovation. It is rote mimicry of something that clearly doesn’t work.
And you have students also mistaking a news outlet as a legitimate forum of lecturing readers with ad copy how wonderful and essential they are.
There is no free will, or critical independent thought. There are no rebels or visionaries.
There are just mindless followers who keep parroting the same mantra, hoping their cheering will infect the populace who will believe them.
That’s not news. That’s narcissism.
The public now has the means to bypass you. They have been bypassing you for two decades now. Social media is no longer a new kid. It’s your conqueror.
There is no saving journalism.
There is only creating something superior to replace it.