Ingram said the theme of his talk on online journalism ‘what’s different? What’s the same’ was really “the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” He wanted to start with the bad because… well… the bad is pretty bad.
Speaking at a Byward Market pub, Ingram showed a graph of newspaper revenue, which he called “The cliff of despair.”
The money just isn’t there anywhere, and newspapers are making a mistake in going to readers for revenue.
The paywall, growing more and more common in North America, isn’t a solution, Ingram said. Paywalls are only a sandbag strategy, Ingram said. They don’t generate a lot of new revenue or readers. “Paywalls don’t help you innovate,” Ingram said.
Convocations around town have me thinking back … way, way back to my own graduation from journalism school – and what I was hoping the experience would give me.
Recently I received the anonymous student evaluations from the ‘Fundamentals of Reporting’ (boot camp) course I taught last year at Carleton University. I took a version of the course when I was a Master’s student at Carleton.
The course emphasizes basic interview skills, preparing a background file, investigating sources and an emphasis on Canadian Press style – with weekly assignments and a major feature at the end of the term. While it’s not their only journalism course, it is one where second-year students get to stretch their legs the most and get out there and do some writing.
As important as the grading system is (I presume if your evaluation marks are astonishingly awful, you won’t be asked back as an instructor), I place as much importance on the comments on the back.
I’ve noticed a shift in how people regard journalists, and the transparency expected of them.
When I first started out in this business, it was quickly apparent that I as a journalist should never be openly vocal about my views on an issue while reporting on it, or having a hand in reporting it.
For example: during an election, I never have a candidate’s sign on my lawn.
In my view, I’m supposed to remain impartial during the campaign (the fact that I no longer put words in the paper or online is irrelevant. I’m an editor, and can direct our coverage). A sign on my lawn would indicate – not just to my neighbours – that I have a preference.
But after a great ethics discussion with journalism students at Carleton University, I wonder if there has been a shift.