Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why New Media Looks A Whole Lot Like Old Media

This week, the Federal Trade Commission will be convening a high-level hearing in D.C. looking at "How Will Journalism Survive The Internet Age."

Media giants like Rupert Murdoch and Arianna Huffington will likely slug it out on pay walls, copyrights and the prospect of Microsoft buying its way into the search world.

I, on the other hand, am going to talk about how white the Web is, and the threat that reality represents to journalism for our increasingly diverse nation.

Look no further than the 17 staff members of AOL's new Sphere.com. Or the single African-American reporter at Politico. Or the lack of diversity in Chicago's new co-op journalism venture. We are starting off on the wrong foot.

You see, journalism is not dead. Not by a long shot. It is, however, in the process of painfully shedding its old skin for a new one. But, in the battle for its soul between old media and new media, something important is being lost: we are now living in a new America.

With the recent closures, bankruptcies, declining circulation and layoffs, the legacy media business has proven that cutting its way to success just won't work. We now know we cannot grow from a crouched position.

For the underlying DNA of journalism --accuracy, inclusion, clarity, storytelling, fairness and truth -- to live on it must now find a new host. To succeed, we must make sure diverse voices -- all voices -- are represented in digital and on the Web.

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