The survival of quality news calls for a new approach to writing and reporting. Inspiration could come from blogging and magazine storytelling, and also bring back memories of the 70′s New Journalism movement, says Frédéric Filloux in his Monday Note.
News reporting is aging badly. Legacy newsrooms style books look stuck in a last Century formalism. Take a newspaper, print or online. When it comes to news reporting, you see the same old structure dating back to the 50s or even earlier. [Try 1850s, which is the era today’s ‘inverted pyramid’ structure evolved from.] For the reporter, there is the same (affected) posture of effacing his/her personality behind facts, and a stiff structure based on a string of carefully arranged paragraphs, colour elements, quotes, etc.
I hate useless quotes. Most often, for journalists, such quotes are the equivalent of the time-card hourly workers have to punch. To their editor, the message is ‘Hey, I did my my job; I called x, y, z’ ; and to the the reader, ‘Look, I’m humbly putting my personality, my point of view behind facts as stated by these people’ — people picked by him/herself, which is the primary (and unavoidable) way to twist a story.
I’m barely making this up. Each time I open a carbon-based newspaper (or read its online version), I’m stuck by how old-fashioned news writing remains. Unbeknownst to the masthead (i.e. editorial top decision-makers) of legacy media, things have changed. Readers no longer demand validating quotes that weigh the narrative down. They want to be taken from A to B, with the best possible arguments, and no distraction or wasted time.
Several factors dictate an urgent evolution in the way newspapers are written:
Read the rest of Filloux’s essay at Monday Note …