(Originally posted on May 10, 2011)
Initially, the post “The Story So Far by J-Lab’s Jan Schaffer kind of ticked me off. She makes suggestions for news organizations to deal with their permanently diminished resources, and at least a few at first come off as quite glib. Example: “Identify the gaps in news coverage and find ways to fill them.” Oh. THAT’s all. Why didn’t I think of that? Just find a way to fill those gaps.
So just so you know, if you have/had that reaction to her post, I had it too, and I would guess it’s a pretty common one. On further reflection, however, I’m going to knock her instead for her phrasing and approach, not her ideas. The problem with her post is she is already over firmly in the territory of having gotten over the shock of what journalism has lost — staff, beats, travel budgets, the whole enchilada — and she’s writing as someone who has moved on to attempt confront the new reality. Many of us are not there yet, even if we think we are. I must not be, judging by my reaction. I think she was tone deaf to how her phrasing would strike this large segment of journalists. Or maybe she was aware of it but decided not to expend the energy to try to add some psychic cushions in her suggestions.
Put a few of those cushions in place yourself, if need be, and then read her suggestions. The premise of her post is that we will never get back the beats and jobs we have lost so far. Given that, how do her suggestions stack up, in your estimation?