Serão os jornalistas despedidos a nova concorrência dos jornais? | Are fired journalists newspapers’ latest competition?

Como os papões da indústria mudaram em 5 anos | How the industry’s ghosts changed in 5 years

Doug Marlette for MEDIANATION © 2004

Há relativamente pouco tempo, os maiores inimigos dos jornalistas eram os bloggers, porque eram amadores a fazer o mesmo que o Deus da Comunicação lhes tinha dado como vocação terrena. Os sacerdotes do jornalismo apressaram-se a excomungar os hereges que lhes pisavam o solo sagrado, e fecharam os olhos aos novos símbolos que eles traziam: computadores portáteis, câmaras digitais, telemóveis, uma verdadeira ubiquidade cibernética.

A desconfiança foi-se desvanecendo e os jornalistas passaram a usar as ferramentas dos bloggers como símbolos da sua religião. E um por um, assim se foi desmontando a autoridade da Igreja de Todos os Jornais, que ia perdendo crentes para a nova fé nos conteúdos online.

O desespero atacou os donos do templo que o viam ficar cada vez mais vazio, e aos poucos foram dispensando os seus subordinados, encerrando portas, lamentando-se aos seus muros que tanto tempo levaram a erigir. Era o fim de uma era, e as páginas que veneravam serviam apenas agora para lhes forrar a memória.

Mas alguns dos seus seguidores pegaram nos seus ensinamentos mais importantes, e espalharam as suas próprias palavras, não para converter ninguém, mas apenas para quem os quisesse ouvir. Esses jornalistas-novos agarraram a oportunidade e levaram a mensagem para a rede, e perceberam que o poder que tinham era igual ao da sua antiga religião: todo e nenhum. E aí transformaram-se no que lhes ensinaram a odiar.

Lisa Williams escreveu dois artigos por estes dias, que me levaram a pensar que despedir jornalistas não aumenta a competitividade dos jornais, apenas aumenta o número de concorrentes, já que um só jornalista pode criar o seu own media, e fazer sombra à empresa que o despediu. Para isso precisa-se apenas de fé, e fé implica humildade e vontade de fazer melhor, de nos ultrapassarmos. De uma coisa discordo da Lisa Williams: o jornalismo não é uma indústria de alta tecnologia, pelo contrário, o problema do jornalismo hoje em dia é que usa uma tecnologia que está acessível a todos. De resto a sua lista de “Dez coisas que um jornalista deve saber…” é genial.

Eu não sou religioso, mas sei que hoje em dia, não é preciso atravessar um deserto para isso.

Not that long ago, the biggest enemies for journalists were bloggers, because they were amateurs doing the same thing the God of Communication had told them to do as their earthly task. The priests of journalism rushed to excommunicate the heretic that were stepping on their sacred grounds, and closed their eyes to the new symbols they beared: laptops, digital cameras, cell phones, a true cybernetic ubiquity.

Suspicion faded away in time and journalists began to use bloggers’ tools as the symbols of their own religion. And one by one, it was how the authority of the Church of All Newspapers was dismantled, losing believers to the new faith of online content.

Despair struck the guardians of the temple, that saw it grow emptier, and slowly began to dismiss their subordinates, closing down the doors, lamenting to the walls they took so long to erect. It was the end of an era, and the pages they worshipped served only to paper their memories.

But some of it’s former followers took their most important teachings and spread their own words, not to convert but to whoever wanted to listen. These new-journalists seized the opportunity and brought their message to the net, and realized that all the power they had was the same as their former religion: all and none. And that was the moment they became what they were taught to hate.

Lisa Williams wrote two articles in these last few days that got me thinking that firing journalists doesn’t lead to an increase in newspaper competitivity, it just increases the number of competitors, since a single journalist can create it’s own media, and shadow the company who fired him. To do that, all it takes is some faith, and faith means humbleness and the will to do better, to surpass ourselves. In one thing I disagree with Lisa Williams: journalism is not a high tech industry, the problem with journalism nowadays is that uses a technology that is accessible to the rest of the people. Otherwise her list of “Ten Things Journalists Should Know…” is genius.

I’m not a religious man, but i know that nowadays, it doesn’t take crossing a desert to make it.

Ten Things Journalists Should Know About Surviving In a High-Tech Industry

Journalism Will Survive the Death of Its Institutions

Why are we still asking if blogs are journalism?

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4 Responses to “Serão os jornalistas despedidos a nova concorrência dos jornais? | Are fired journalists newspapers’ latest competition?”

  1. 18 de Abril de 2008 às 10:48 pm

    Thanks so much for this contribution!

    I need to think about this a little bit. I do feel that the two industries — news and high-tech are merging, and I see how the career norms for journalists are approaching those that I am familiar with in the high-tech world.

    If you mean that the current practice of newsgathering is not a high-tech process, I’d agree with you; what’s changed the most is the mechanism of distribution, which has many more high-tech elements that have become more important as more of the audience uses them, and eventually as more of the revenue comes from those channels.

    I think, though that parts of the newsgathering process will also become more high tech, and that that can be a very good thing for journalism. For an example, take a look at this post.

  2. 18 de Abril de 2008 às 10:48 pm

    Oh, it looks as if inline links are not supported. Here’s the link to the post:


  3. 19 de Abril de 2008 às 11:28 am

    Hi Lisa,

    first of all i’d like to say i really like your perspective, and i enjoyed reading these two articles a lot. It seems i skipped The Attack of the Podium Weasels, which is the most awesome name.

    Both you and Andy got me wondering how far i pushed the idea that journalism is not a hi-tech business, but this post was also to act as agent provocateur, so i might have stretched it a bit too much. But just a bit.

    Do you remember how in the (early) nineties there all of these references in sitcoms and movies about someone’s parents who didn’t even know how to program the VCR? My parents didn’t either. Then VCR went away and DVD took over and i never heard a joke about DVD players before. And when i first read about cell phones in Japan as we know them now – light and cheap – i’d never thought that today everybody would use them, because i considered them hi-tech. Still, in a couple of years their use became widespread, from kids to grannies. Even the oldest, illiterate generation here in Portugal adapted quite easily to the new devices. Probably i’m wrong but the hi-tech definition implies a certain distance from the ordinary user(besides the money thing). If not, hi-tech has become common tech. And that’s where i got to the conclusion that journalism is not really a hi-tech industry.

    Of course, just like in any other industry there’s an amount of technology that the common user can’t grasp, but i think this only happens in the structural and logistic part: servers, programming, all the technical development. Not everyone can build a bridge even if they know in theory how to do it.
    But i was referring to journalism as an activity, as you noticed. The whole technological evolution pursues the completion of these parameters: better,faster,more,easier. And there’s the 20th century to prove it. This implies bigger complexity in the production phase, because it’s complicated to make things simple. This is were i’ll simplify too.

    For users, it will always be easy to access what the industry so strenuosly created. For the journalists, the trend is to benefit from the convergence of common (hi)tech – cell phones with cameras, permanent internet connection, digital video and audio- with the industrial tech – databases, servers, CMS platforms, production software. Although if you know how to drive a car you might not get to be a race car driver.

    And journalists are the race car drivers, while the public is getting better cars. And both now can race with the same type of equipment, with the same type of investment, but in the end racers will deliver the job. So the separation is more between user and producer and not about who dominates technology, because even if a driver knows a lot about engines, brakes and aerodynamics, he always needs a team of mechanics behind him, no matter what the future holds.

    Hi tech tools are just tools, and when we get used to them, we just use them, no matter if it’s a shovel or a mechanical digger, the purpose is the same. And now we all have digital shovels to dig through the job.

    So, if you’ve got this far after all of these sports metaphors (sorry about that) i hope i made my point clearer (looking back i guess not…). But thank you so much for these articles and for your input. And congratulations for being one of those people that likes to answer to their comments. Looking forward for the next one.

    PS: And thanks also to Andy Dickinson for his thoughts about my thoughts, it’s a privilege to be read by such illustrious minds.

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