Searching for the Future of Journalism

April 25, 2012

Over the past year and a half, Dodge has developed a focus on Media, particularly with respect to improving the quality and access of New Jersey-focused news and information for people throughout the state.

We’re exploring a lot of the same questions that others are grappling with: how do we engage and encourage participation in our communities around New Jersey’s issues? How is technology redefining the way people access news? What does the future of journalism look like?

This blog post by Eric Newton from the Knight Foundation on Arts journalism (“Why We Need New Models for Arts Journalism“) caught our attention. In it, he asks:

  1. Is Arts journalism in trouble?
  2. Does it matter?
  3. Can anything be done to help?

You could take out the “arts” in the first question, and all of those questions would still be relevant. Indeed, Newton notes:

Journalism in America does not need to be saved, the Knight Commission says, so much as it needs to be invented. Rather than embark on the search for the past, for a golden age that may not have really existed, the commission urges us to look ahead…This means being agnostic about the delivery mechanisms of news.

He also notes that as arts journalism, and its parallel investigative reporting, have been cut, nonprofit news sites have been cropping up in nearly every state – and that they have fared better as startups than the average business startup, according to the Investigative News Network.

This is good news for New Jersey, as Dodge is helping to launch a similar venture that will help establish a strong network of news organizations, hyper local websites, citizen journalists and others who are focused on coverage of meaningful, relevant, New Jersey-focused news. We will be talking more about this venture over the coming months as it develops.

The Knight Foundation has also funded many of these startups, and we look to their example, particularly as they note that, “the ones who seem strongest have what could be called the ‘four c’s’ – content, connectivity, community and cash. Each of these elements involves engagement. Is the content compelling and engaging? Is the technological connectivity engaging people how, when and where they want to use news? Is the community engaged in the news and information flow not just as consumer but as provider? Are the business practices professional and aimed at developing multiple revenue streams by engaging the entire community?

All good, important questions that we will be asking as well.

We want to know: how do you get your New Jersey news? How would you like to see it improved? Please leave us a comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

You can read Eric Newton’s full blog post here.
To read our Media guidelines and why we fund Media, please visit our website.