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It's Time to Fire My Friends

I'm not ready to give up on journalism students ... at least not yet.


Paul Conley By Paul Conley
12/05/2007 -15:35 PM






"Listen, the Web is the most exciting part of a modern journalism enterprise for ambitious writers and editors. If they haven't figured it out by now, to hell with them."

Those are the words of Jon Friedman in a column published this week on MarketWatch. You can read the rest of his comments, born of a frustrating experience at the American Magazine Conference, by clicking here.

Now it's worth noting for the thousandth time that I am not one of those people who believe print is dead. Rather, I believe that some of print is dead. Some of it isn't dead yet. And some of it will live forever.

I, unlike Friedman, don't expect to read the obituary of the magazine industry any time soon. However, I do believe—strongly—that the careers of a great numbers of great journalists are dead. The refusal to accept the changes in journalism has turned many of the people I know in this industry from assets into liabilities. These people—many of them friends of mine—are the whining editors and publishers that Friedman says "still view the Web as more of a curse than a blessing." And although it is sad, and although it is a loss to the profession, it's time to let these folks go.

Friedman is right: writers and editors that haven't figured out that Web is now the most important part of what we do aren't worth worrying about any longer.

On the other hand, I'm not ready to give up on journalism students ... at least not yet.

As I've said before, the next generation is woefully unprepared to work in today's media. But I have faith that smart teachers can undo the damage inflicted by the journalism dinosaurs that roam the halls of academia.

And even if this entire generation of college students turns out to have been ruined by print-centric, elderly people, there are indications that today's high school students may turn out just fine.

More here ...

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Paul Conley By Paul Conley -- Folio: Contributor

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