Newspapers, as we know them, are doomed. Should we worry? What’s next for journalism? Will there be journalism? That’s what we’re talking about in this month edition of Cato Unbound, “How We Will (or Won’t) Survive Without Newspapers,” which kicks off today with a smart lead essay from Here Comes Everybody author Clay Shirky, “Not an Upgrade — An Upheaval“. A taste:
Like driving, journalism is not a profession — no degree or certification is required to practice it, and training often comes after hiring — and it is increasingly being transformed into an activity, open to all, sometimes done well, sometimes badly, but at a volume that simply cannot be supported by a small group of full-time workers. The journalistic models that will excel in the next few years will rely on new forms of creation, some of which will be done by professionals, some by amateurs, some by crowds, and some by machines.
This will not replace the older forms journalism, but then nothing else will either; both preservation and simple replacement are off the table. The change we’re living through isn’t an upgrade, it’s a upheaval, and it will be decades before anyone can really sort out the value of what’s been lost versus what’s been gained.