Wednesday, May 14, 2014


To those who insist on "print only":

Here is an example of what a print-only reader of the NYTimes misses:

Stick around for Berlin and New York after the piece on Minneapolis.

Watching the NYTimes and other newspapers evolve and find their way into the use of video and audio has been instructive to this child of TV news in the 50s and beyond.

You could do a print piece on any of the subjects in the video link, but what would be missing, even with the best of writers?

As a teacher I see universities and journalism schools in particular wrestling for relevance. Would a traditionally trained journalist find the assignment of reporting any of the pieces in the link be challenged.
Are these examples of reporting?
Does today's J school graduate have the skills to report these stories?
Or are these stories the domain of people who bring a greater variety of skills and insight into traditional journalism?

Bill Cunningham has been reporting fashion for the NYTimes for about 50 years. He moves through the fashion world with his perceptive eyes, his still camera and his encyclopedic knowledge and memory of the fashion world. He is in the Pantheon of the best reporters and should have long since been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, but change is not a hallmark of the traditionalists.

For years the still camera and the print newspaper were enough. Mr. Cunningham's fashion essays are now produced into short video pieces with his narration. His less-than-professional-broadcast-voice is the ideal accompaniment to the photos from his perceptive eye. Its the words that count whether written or spoken. He has adapted to the changes not only in fashion, as he always has; he has adapted to the potential that is the challenge for journalism.
(Characteristically, Mr Cunningham confronted with his style and impact said in 2002 before the advent of his video pieces:
Bill on Bill
"The problem is I'm not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I'm too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I'm not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That's all there is to it. ")

The proliferation of news-sites that now make up the widest and deepest sources of information that humans have ever been able to access draw young women and young men to the limitless potential of what we once called reporting and journalism.

The debate about the value of these different forms of journalism and those who practice the craft is endless and passionate. My bias is clear.

I admire the NYTimes for reaching beyond its traditional self; not that the organization had any choice. I compliment the NYTimes for finding the new young talent that works to marry the traditional skills with the potential in the art of video and audio production. And this is only the beginning of the transition that we will likely look back on as baby steps.

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