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The Future of the Press

One of the things I like about the book as an object of study is that it spans different media, from manuscript to print to e-book. The book is a larger category than, say, print by itself. On the other hand, one of the unique outcomes of print was the medium and institution of the periodical press (or “the press” for short). It is hard to imagine print culture without journalism. The question is, will there still be “journalism” without print? Or better still: will it be any different?

Some really nice thoughts on this by Jay Rosen on the future of journalism. The idea of his I like the most is that the “press” should not be subsumed by “media” when thinking about the future of journalism.  For Rosen, that specific word (“press”) denotes a kind of experimental form of public-oriented writing that came into being with a particular technology. Although antiquated, it means that we should be thinking about revitalizing that kind of writing under a new technological paradigm (“the switch” perhaps?).

Here are Rosen’s four main points which he elaborates at his site, but it is worth going to the post to read them in full. He has been a teacher of journalism for 25 years. These insights are born from experience, but contain a remarkable freshness.  I hope I have this much to say about literature and the book in 25 years.

It comes down to these four ideas.

1. The more people who participate in the press the stronger it will be.

2. The profession of journalism went awry when it began to adopt the View from Nowhere.

3. The news system will improve when it is made more useful to people.

4. Making facts public does not a public make; information alone will not inform us.