Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Writing the Book
For many students, the allure of journalism has always been writing. Sure, plenty may come to love reporting and the thrill of deadlines, but it’s a good bet that most j-school dreams involve becoming a big-name author, not a grizzled beat reporter. In the Winter issue of Nieman Reports, journalists who have written books share their experiences. From tips about memoirs and lessons from a veteran writing coach to an exploration of new business models, there’s plenty within to engage students.
We can thank the likes of Sanjay Gupta, Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper — disaster porn stars with visions of Peabodys and Pulitzers dancing in their heads.
The black t-shirt — so tight, so come-hither. And oh, those safari button-downs — joke-worthy on Eddie Bauer mannequins, but on news correspondents, so … enticing.
America missed these sartorial seductions, pined for their sweet suggestive nothings. And now, finally, a nation of television addicts can thank its disaster pornographers for bringing back the lurid garments — and the lustful voyeurism they evoke.
Yes, thousands of miles from the San Fernando Valley’s seedy studios, the adult entertainment business is alive and panting in Haiti. This year’s luminaries aren’t the industry’s typical muscle-bound mustaches of machismo — they are NBC’s Brian Williams pillow-talking to the camera in his Indiana Jones garb, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta playing doctor and, of course, CNN’s Anderson Cooper in that two-sizes-too-small t-shirt “rarely missing an opportunity to showcase his buff physique,” as The New York Times gushed. They are all the disaster porn stars in the media with visions of Peabodys and Pulitzers dancing in their heads.
And We the Ogling People drink it in.
My last post about citizen journalism and the horrific Haitian earthquake got me thinking about the skills needed to be a reporter. Media commentators, for example Jeff Jarvis and Roy Greenslade, are known for saying that today’s journalists need to be entrepreneurs.
It’s no longer enough to be able to talk, listen and write it down. Anyone who wants to be involved in the business of reporting news now needs to understand how to put news together. We need to get to grips with what’s behind a news report: getting the photos, videos, audio, quotes, interactive maps, charts, graphs and quizzes that make up the news package. Journalists, particularly citizen journalists, must be able to write, film, record, blog, comment, fund and somehow make money along the way.
We need to be entrepreneurs. As Jeff Jarvis puts it:
“We all agree that it’s important for journalism students — and journalists — today to understand the economics of news. Some of us add that it was irresponsible of our institutions not to teach this in the past. We agree it is important to bring entrepreneurship into the industry. Some of us concentrate more on new entrepreneurial ventures, others more on bringing innovation into existing companies. Some say journalists aren’t cut out to be entrepreneurs (I disagree) but all agree that entrepreneurship is a way to teach both innovation and business.”
Read the full article.