martes, junio 17, 2008

Qué pasará con los "viejos" medios

Parte de la discusión sobre qué pasará con los medios tradicionales es sobre cómo será la audiencia que los prefiera, qué tipo de contenidos entregarán y qué formación tendrán esos periodistas. O estarán concentrados en nichos profesionales, que necesiten información con privilegios, más que en una instantánea de la realidad o una instantánea cargada de multimedia para distribuirla en diferentes plataformas. El siguiente artículo, publicado en la Columbia Journalist Review, cuenta con detalles, y mucha nostalgia, la última reunión de la Nieman Foundation y cómo los "antiguos" medios se plantearon los nuevos dilemas en la sustancia del Periodismo: contar buenas historias. Lo que alguna vez fue el centro del universo narrativo, hoy mira el futuro desde la vereda de los veteranos. Pero eso no significa que las historias cambiarán, sino que serán presentadas de otra manera. "La gente no está perdiendo interés en las noticias. Están perdiendo interés en cómo las noticias están definidas y presentadas", dijo Edward Roussel, editor digital del Daily Telegraph en la reciente reunión de Goteborg para la Wan 2008. El texto, a pesar de su melancolía, muestra cómo el periodismo narrativo busca una salida en un mundo que parece adverso.

Artículo CJR
If there were an ashram for people who worship contemplative long-form journalism, it would be the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism. This March, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, hundreds of journalists, authors, students, and aspirants came for the weekend event. Seated on metal chairs in large conference rooms, we learned about muscular storytelling (the Q-shaped narrative structure—who knew?). We sipped cups of coffee and ate bagels and heard about reporting history through letters and public documents and how to evoke empathy for our subjects, particularly our most marginal ones. As we listened to reporters discussing great feats—exposing Walter Reed’s fetid living quarters for wounded soldiers, for instance—we also renewed our pride in our profession. In short, the conference exemplified the best of the older media models, the ones that have so recently fallen into economic turmoil.

Yet even at the weekend’s strongest lectures on interview techniques or the long-form profile, we couldn’t ignore the digital elephant in the room. We all knew as writers that the kinds of pieces we were discussing require months of work to be both deep and refined, and that we were all hard-pressed for the time and the money to do that. It was always hard for nonfiction writers, but something seems to have changed. For those of us who believed in the value of the journalism and literary nonfiction of the past, we had become like the people at the ashram after the guru has died.

Right now, journalism is more or less divided into two camps, which I will call Lost Media and Found Media. I went to the Nieman conference partially because I wanted to see how the forces creating this new division are affecting and afflicting the Lost Media world that I love best, not on the institutional level, but for reporters and writers themselves. This world includes people who write for all the newspapers and magazines that are currently struggling with layoffs, speedups, hiring freezes, buyouts, the death or shrinkage of film- and book-review sections, limits on expensive investigative work, the erasure of foreign bureaus, and the general narrowing of institutional ambition. It includes freelance writers competing with hordes of ever-younger competitors willing to write and publish online for free, the fade-out of established journalistic career paths, and, perhaps most crucially, a muddled sense of the meritorious, as blogs level and scramble the value and status of print publications, and of professional writers. The glamour and influence once associated with a magazine elite seem to have faded, becoming a sort of pastiche of winsome articles about yearning and boxers and dinners at Elaine’s.

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