Stop Killing My Vibes

I recently read the Washington Post Executive Editor, Martin Baron’s take on the move from print to digital journalism.

It’s a horse we have almost beaten to death this semester. Most are pessimists; even those in the print biz do not believe the paper will last much longer. They scoff at the idea of our grandchildren knowing what a newspaper is and even mock the J-School for the hosting of print journalism classes.

Baron disagreed. He is not fool, he knows journalism is changing and print will be evolving the most. Unlike these naysayers, he offers encouragement and advice to keep print (and journalism as a whole) relevant.

“We need to be optimistic. Those who feel they work in vain do not succeed. Success goes to those who believe they can achieve it.”

Baron said if something is not working we must change it. Instead of giving up, we should use the technology we have to make what we are doing innovative. He gives two suggestions:

  1. Write well. As I have said before, good content is good content.

“We must excel at the craft of writing – more broadly, at the craft of storytelling, whether in words or images or some combination. We must engage readers so that they are drawn into a world apart from their own. So that they see things in a fresh light.”

  1. Be different, be new and be good!

“We need original, on-the-scene reporting. We must go places, see things, interview people.”

While this may seem like a pep-talk to journalists rather than groundbreaking discoveries on saving the newspaper, maybe a little pep-talk is all we really need. Changes are inevitable and adaptation comes with the territory. Baron reinforced my belief that good journalism prevails. Storytelling, solid writing, original content and hard work will always stand the test of time.


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