Living in the Year 1,500

This morning, I reread a fabulous piece on Journalism & Newspapers by Clay Shirky. A reader had sent this to me sometime last year, and it is one of those essays that contains a sprinkling of magic dust.

Shirky always seems to find the heart of an issue and contextualize it in a profound manner.

This was the money shot that stayed with me:

“Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.

When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.”

Quite fascinating . . . His entire dissection on the newspaper business is worth 15 minutes of your time to read in its entirety.


Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable
Clay Shirky, March 13th, 2009

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