“Digital Natives”

What I enjoy about Facebook, social networking and the Web in general is that you connect with people you might not meet or speak to otherwise. A good friend of mine connected me with Bo Hee Kim, a young journalist based in San Francisco. In the “notes” section of her facebook page, Bo has a running blog of sorts, which had a recent entry titled, “Rant on Journalism.” She gave me permission to share it.

Bo’s Rant on Journalism

You didn’t get in it to get rich. If you did, I hope you’re a hot little number in broadcasting. For the rest of us, it should have been the equivalent of signing a pact with poverty. The recent lay-offs and buyouts only highlight the situation. And it really sucks.

– Most of my sympathy aside now –

I’ve got sympathy and compassion, but I’m losing patience for jaded and/or bitter journalists. What kind of journalist doesn’t get hot and bothered about the idea of learning to reach new masses? Coming from a generation that never really kept up the news, I think it’s an exciting time to be around.

Journalists write for the love of the craft. Telling the untold stories that, at the very least, will keep the reader interested and perhaps spark change. To keep leaders accountable, the public aware. What good are my stories, my articles, the articles that you carefully pen if no one reads it?

I’m going to dare to hope that we’re the future of journalism. Yes, we get rejected from jobs. We are told again and again that we are not qualified. But all the qualifications in the world couldn’t stop print media from merging then transferring to new media. I like to sit and think we are (or will be) the generation of new media.

We are not copy editors. We make mistakes. We are young and inexperienced. We are digital natives and we are ambitious as fuck. We’re here to witness and hopefully be a part of creating innovative and interactive ways of engaging in journalism. And we’ve got more than words and pictures. It’s becoming a desperate time calling for bold measures, whether that’s hyperlocalism or creating games on Facebook to get people interested in the news (shameless plug for Deadline).

Don’t get me wrong. Print journalists have my respect forever. Experienced journalists bring a lot to new media journalism and are indispensable. I’m sick of the ones who tout experience and use it to smush the younger journalists with our uncopyedited blogs and ideas about how this should play out, along with our knowledge of the social nature that is the internet. This, coupled with our passion for telling the stories that, despite their importance and poignancy, fall underneath the radar of mainstream media should give us the right to claim our corner in journalism today.

And when it hangs heavy, I think about what someone once told me:

50 years from now, when you look at the field of journalism and how it has changed, you’ll wish you had been here. It was a time when things were open and the way was unclear. It was probably very unsure and scary, but ideas were tossed up and juggled that normally would have been shunted aside.


About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing amherstwire.com, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at washingtonpost.com. He also edits part-time for espn.com with the NFL and college football network.
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