I think we all know that I come from a different mindset than those of us who live for hard-hitting, fast-breaking news. I’m a blogger and of all things, I blog about food. So read the following with that in mind.
To me, the intermingling of journalism and humanities is the sort of obvious thing that should never have faded after the 19th century. When we look at the root of the problems suffered by industrial journalism, one of the biggest missing pieces is community engagement. I don’t come from the mindset that journalists need to be somehow unattached to that which they cover and I think the humanities and arts are a viable, reasonable medium through which reporters could maintain a personal presence with the community of readers without losing credibility.
The ideas suggested in the article
are the sorts of locally, community focused projects that would, yes require extra effort, but could also offer benefits that can’t be measured in dollars and dimes but rather in a long-term commitment to the community of readers a paper is supposed to serve. If we as journalists are not willing to work harder and innovate, then how do we deserve to be any more successful than those who came before and failed?
As mentioned in the article, breaking news is everywhere. The trick now lies in presenting the information in a new way, an engaging way, and a way that offers depth and context not found elsewhere.
Why shut out more artistic story-telling methods such as a serial or graphics novel to give readers the information they want? This sort of narrow-minded traditionalist thinking is exactly the type of thought that landed so many giant papers in the red, and eventually out of business.
No, there is no simple answer. And these humanities-based techniques won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution for every paper. But this sort of creative thinking will be the best remedy to the ills of the journalism industry.
To end, a quote from my favorite poet who was mentioned in the article as well, the shaggy bearded gentleman pictured above: Walt Whitman, a journalist and poet and artist all in one.
“To have great poets, there must be great audiences.”