I did not yet have time to read much from the detailed Report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism on The State of the News Media 2008, but Leonard Witt (PJNet), put yesterday published an interesting snippet:
"Increasingly, the newsroom is perceived as the more innovative and experimental part of the news industry. This appears truer in newspapers and Web sites than elsewhere. But still it represents a significant shift in the conversation. A decade ago, the newsroom was often regarded as the root of journalism’s disconnection from the public and its sagging reputation. “I think we may need to just blow up the culture of the newsroom,” one of the country’s more respected editors told a private gathering of industry leaders in 1997. Now the business side has begun to be identified as the problem area, the place where people are having the most difficulty changing. “My middle management in advertising and distribution is where I see the deer-in-the-headlights look,” one publisher recently told us. “Advertising doesn’t know how to start to cope,” said a major industry trade association leader. A survey of journalists from different media (being released with this year’s report) reinforces this sense. Majorities think such things as journalists writing blogs, the ranking of stories on their Web sites, citizens posting comments or ranking stories, even citizen news sites, are making journalism better — a perspective hard to imagine even a few years ago. These new technologies are seen as less a threat to values or a demand on time than a way to reconnect with audiences. News people also are less anxious about credibility, the focus of concern a few years ago. Their worries now are about money ..."
Is the pendulum swinging back?
We saw in publishing first the editor / journalist play the first violin, later the advertising people played in many publishing houses the first violin and were promoted (more often) to be the publisher, than distribution was key and more people from this faculty became their chance. Than and today unfortunately (in my opinion anyway) the financial people took over and ruined (and still ruin) the model of publishing in the midst of our society (most obvious in newspaper publishing, broadcasting).
Of course we have different stages a publisher a publishing venture is in and often the model is mixed anyway. But, if the pendulum would swing back ... wouldn't that be great for the readers, authors and the publisher, too?