ONA: The death of Eeyore

This year’s Online News Association sounds very different from those I’ve attended in years past. When I went a few years ago, I heard a lot of resistance to change and blogs and all that damned stuff. Last year, I heard a lot of fear, moaning, and wailing and read Rafat Ali’s post about it on a panel. This year, I’m hearing a lot about new things that are succeeding on news sites and about the possibilities to do more; I’m hearing optimism and passion. I talked with the editor of a certain major paper (no, not that one), who said that the revolution is over; the newsroom is not resisting. But I’ve talked with other online folks who lament that the war is over, yes, but the print people won and though they talk a new game, they don’t get it as much as they think they get it. And I just spoke with an online pioneer who said we’ll know the revolution will be over when a major American newspaper is edited by an online guy (and, I’ll add, when it’s not a newspaper anymore but a norg). That will come in time, he said (read: evenetually). Yes, I asked, but will it come in time (read: before it’s too late)? I hear less resistance to, resentment of, and fear of change and that’s good. I hear excitement and imagination and that’s very good. The question remains: Are the changes big enough and fast enough?

  • http://ruthcalvo Ruth

    Will it come in good time? I think so, and this election, with blogs and news online so much ahead of the denouement of a decrepit congress, I believe we’re at that time. When the figures in the news can’t hold back and stonewall as they did with the press during Watergate, the public is in more control of events. And when blogs are telling the news every minute instead of breathless waiting for the evening news reports, the perpetrators of the offenses are on the spot unavoidably. It’s all good.

  • http://www.beatcanvas.com Brett Rogers

    I don’t get why it’s important that they make enough big changes fast enough. Sure, for them it’s important, and maybe your sentiment toward them as a fellow journalist makes it important to you, but frankly I don’t know why those of us in the cheap seats should care.

    If they leave a vacuum from their non-participation, someone else will fill it – as happens now – and we in the cheap seats still get what we need. The market will drive the winning answer.

    If news folks today want to participate, cool, but I really don’t care if they participate or not. Should I?

  • http://www.cyberjournalist.net Jonathan Dube

    Regarding the statement that “we’ll know the revolution will be over when a major American newspaper is edited by an online guy,” it’s worth mentioning that an online guy, Kinsey Wilson, is now the co-Executive Editor of USA Today, so that has already happened. That said, the revolution is far from over – it’s just now beginning.

  • http://weblinkeds.blogspot.com/ Raquel Almeida

    Hi Jeff
    I`m brazilian and the content manager from O Globo Online (www.oglobo.com.br), which the printed version is the second largest newspaper in Brazil.This was my first time at ONA`s conference. I love your thoughts and ideas and it was very interesting see that we in South America have the same problems and doubts you breath in the US. But we also have this optimism and passion. I see it here and I feel it everyday when I`m publishing our website. We are living the revolution, and this is amazing.

  • tc

    Arrington was stunning in self-unaware contradictions. And also an asshole – but that’s beside the point. In preaching about the unreliability of mainstream reporters, he
    likely slandered an NYT reporter, and apologized only when challenged directly.The country needs good, independent, reporting-oriented bloggers, and Arrington has been one of the best. But him going off half-cocked in the assertion of facts is exemplary of the challenges we mainstream dinosaurs face in integrating staff reporting with joe-sixpack reporting (which is time-consuming and expensive, as opposed to opinion writing.) You think verifiable and reliable don’t matter? Talk to the 12- and 15-year-old from the earlier ONA session. I wish Jay Rosen all the best. We’ll all be better off if his venture works. And if Arrington gets back on his meds.

  • http://www.howardowens.com/ Howard Owens

    They don’t know as much as they think they know.

  • http://fiercetalk.wordpress.com georgia kral

    “i hear less resistance to, resentment of, and fear of change and that’s good. I hear excitement and imagination and that’s very good.”

    yes! that is good to hear indeed. now just bring that to the new wave of journalists who fear the lack of (paid) work in this world of chaos that is the blogosphere.

  • http://www.pressthink.org Jay Rosen

    Thanks, TC. Verifiable and reliable do matter. They matter a ton.

    What Howard said. I can imagine newspaper people going to school on the Web and coming out way better for it. Many have done that. Many more will. What I can’t imagine is newspaper people going to school on the Web after they thought they’ve already gone to school on the Web. In my experience that does not happen.

  • Pingback: La Shawn Barber’s Corner » New Media Power

  • Pingback: BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » ONA: A lesson in journalism

  • http://www.qqbq.info/Eeyore.html Voie

    If they leave a vacuum from their non-participation, someone else will fill it – as happens now – and we in the cheap seats still get what we need. The market will drive the winning answer.

  • http://www.syracuse.com/news/tracker/ Brian Cubbison

    The first stage of enlightenment for newsrooms was to get your stuff online so online users could find it and read it conveniently.

    The second stage of enlightenment was to listen to, learn from and report on what other people were doing online, including the radical notion of linking to other people’s sites.

    The third stage is to go out and participate in the network of networked journalism: Be a valuable node in the conversations and help protect the network from spammers and scammers.

    Most newsrooms are somewhere between stages 1 and 2. But at The Post-Standard in Syracuse, columnist Sean Kirst has a column, a blog, a forum, and the respect of a network of bloggers who care about upstate New York communities. They write in his forum, and he writes about them in his blog and column. Just as important, he posts in their blogs. Not as a bigfoot, but as part of the conversation — a valuable node in the network.

  • Pingback: @ ONA: Making Noise, Yes. Sense? — Tech News and Analysis