Is The ‘Digital Future’ ‘The Most Stunning Example…Of What Is Wrong With Print Journalism Today’?

Fighting words from Detroit’s MetroTimes, the city’s alt-weekly, which got a copy of a memo from an editor who works for the Journal Register Company (they of open newsrooms and Project Thunderdome) talking about the newspaper’s digital strategy.

The editor asked reporters to, any time they cover a story:

  • crowdsource the topic beforehand
  • share relevant documentation with readers ahead of time
  • check in on Foursquare and post relevant tweets or FB updates
  • Shoot video of the event
  • Write a breaking news version of the event and then post a more thoughtful story later, and promote both with social media
  • Host a live chat about the story

This “is the single most stunning example I’ve ever seen of what is wrong with print journalism today,” MetroNews’s Jack Lessenberry, the paper’s contributing editor, wrote.

MetroNews isn’t made up of Luddites; they have a very nice website, a Twitter account, and appear to be cashing in on the daily deal craze. So what on earth is going on here?

Lessenberry added, by the way:

“Try to imagine Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reporting Watergate and being asked to do any of this. You can’t even imagine anyone doing these things, except as a bad Saturday Night Live parody of the life of a multimedia reporter.”

You “can’t even imagine” a reporter Tweeting about a story? Huh?

Here’s Journal Register editor-in-chief Jim Brady’s response, by the way:

Now it’s ON.

Publish date: September 8, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT