Of News Branding and a Journalism Mensch

Last week NPR Science Editor Anne Gudenkauf and I were chatting about journalism’s future. The occasion was the first week of NPR’s third pilot workshop/immersion into Webcentric journalism. Most of the science desk is taking time off from their regular duties for five weeks. [I wish other mainstream jurno organizations would take such an organized and committed approach. It might be difficult, but there’s no other sustainable way to move gracefully into the Medium Taking Over the World.] As associate faculty at Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley, I’m helping out with NPR’s transition into Web-world. [Here’s an AJR article about the project.] And as a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, I’m focusing on how to ensure the future of journalism.

To the point of this post: I told Anne it seemed as though journalism — the word, the value and understanding of its role in democracy — was lost. Two events prompted that statement. First, when I asked a group of Stanford University sophomores if journalism had ever affected their lives, they said no, although they said they did tune into news, via friends and certain Web sites. Two, the bashing of the “media elite” at the recent Republican convention — without a mention of the role of journalism in a nation where freedoms are so valued — seemed a bit contradictory.

Anne’s response: Perhaps news-organization branding is obfuscating journalism? That’s a bingo. People tar Continue reading