Thinking Ahead: The Difference between Journalism and Media
By G. Stuart Adam – as published on poynter.org
Last month, Kimn Swenson Gollnick, a graduate student at the University of Iowa, posed some questions about the future of journalism to G. Stuart Adam, a journalism professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Adam, a Poynter affiliate, wrote Journalism: the Democratic Craft with Roy Peter Clark. This is an edited version of their exchange.
Kimn Swenson Gollnick: How can newspapers survive? What is the future for students studying journalism?
G. Stuart Adam: I suggest that in order to reflect on the future — and to encourage a more sanguine view of the situation — you distinguish between journalism as a cultural practice, on the one hand, and media, on the other. The term “media” blends (and blurs) concepts of culture and technology. When used as a synonym for journalism, the term “media” pushes technology into the foreground and conceals the fact that “journalism” is one thing and “media” is another. The latter refers mainly to technologies of various effects and uses.
With this distinction in mind I encourage you to think of journalism as a form of expression or brain work that includes making news judgments, gathering evidence, constructing narratives and making sense of things. It is a method of capturing and representing the world of events and ideas as they occur. While there is no doubt that the journalistic method developed in newspapers, that it established itself later in the broadcast media and that it is media-dependent, it is nevertheless a distinctive form of expression on which modern democratic societies depend. Now it is surfacing in the Internet. So the future of journalism, while dependent on media, is not wholly dependent on newspapers.
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