Survival of the 21st Century journalist

ANIKA MCMAHON

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21st Century Journalists need to adapt to survive. Source: Public Commons

Founder and author of Dot Earth, Andrew Revkin said the survival of 21st century journalists’ rests in their ability to maintain authority in a sceptical society.

The 2015 Global Integrity Summit questioned the survival of journalists, naming them the Candlestick Makers of the 21st Century.

Candlestick makers were unable to thrive into the 19th and 20th c. world of gas and electric light and eventually died out.

Mr Revkin likened journalists to the original candlestick makers, believing Walter Cronkite’s traditional model of journalism will fail to ignite a trust in today’s society.

“Journalists are candlestick makers of the 21st century,” he said.

“You’re no longer the authority, you’re not the producer of the information your collecting it and disseminating it. You’re more of a conduit for stuff than a proprietor.”

“The journalist of the 21st century, the individual that will succeed is the person who can maintain a sense of authority through the power of the crowd. It won’t be the traditional model of Walter Cronkite.”

Mr Revkin said gone are the days when people are happy to be told what to believe.

“We had it so easy in the 20th century, someone just told you the way it was and now we, the crowd, have some of the responsibility of figuring that out.”

“The future of media [is] to be someone you [society] want to go to when something weird is in the news and you are not quite sure if it is correct or not.”

Another change in journalism highlighted by Mr Revkin was the distribution of news.

“You [journalists] should be as open to promoting or pointing people to some other source of information,” he said.

“You’re no longer the authority, you’re not the producer of the information your collecting it and disseminating it. You’re more of a conduit for stuff than a proprietor.”

 

More on the need for transformation with Andy Revkin at the Global Integrity Summit 2015

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