Monday, April 2, 2007

Buck up

These journalism times are indeed unsettling, with shrinking newsrooms and all. So learning why one newspaper editor is optimistic is worth your time and trouble. John Robinson of the Greensboro News & Record has three reasons why he's optimistic now. Go read them yourself here, but the first one surely will make you sit up straight and feel good, so I'll tease with it.
1. The reporters are better. I'm speaking of reporters like this who are paid for their work and reporters like this who aren't. The professionals are smarter and quicker, and more fluid and more diverse than any in the 30+ years I've been in the business. They are innovative and open to change. We're in good hands. The widespread entry of non-pros is a splendid development, bring new eyes to old and new topics. When I was editorial page editor, it was a daunting challenge to write on complicated issues day after day, knowing that there were dozens of people in the community who knew the topic better than I. Now they have access to a megaphone to inform those of us who care. How can that be anything be a valuable complement to democracy?
The tip for this came from Jeff Jarvis' BuzzMachine blog, where he cites his own optimism and that of a few others. On a Monday, that's worth reading.