Media and disruptive technology (or why change is so hard for entrenched companies)
Seasonal greetings and my favourite blog post of the year

Why change in the newsroom is so hard

While we're on the issue of change, and how difficult it is for media organisations, I also wanted to highlight some brilliant insights buried in a link towards the end of my last post.

It has always been a puzzle to me why journalists of all people seem to be so opposed to change, so conservative when it comes to embracing new technology and tools, as most career advisers will tell you that if you want to make a career in journalism, you need to be flexible and enjoy working in dynamic, fast-changing environments. It was certainly my impression from what I was told that you needed to be a bit of a change addict - which suited me just fine. But the reality is not that simple, and Carrie Lisa Brown really puts her finger on some of the dynamics at work (do check out the full post):

...The journalism blogosphere is full of frustrated rants about various ways in which individual resistance is one of the biggest impediments to change (and believe me, I too have been one of the frustrated). Even in individual newsrooms, some people are tagged as those who will embrace change readily and will as thus be relied on heavily to step up (and keep stepping until they are nearly burnt out) to contribute in a variety of ways to adapting to the digital world; others just are dim-witted and must be worked around. Not incidentially, from a psychological perspective, this allows many in leadership roles to bump up their own status as ones who are savvy enough to “get it” while simultaneously giving them a scapegoat for lack of progress — those “other folks” who just don’t and never will...

...The truth is, the more time you spend with individual journalists listening — really listening — to their ideas about their role in the future — lo and behold, you find people who are smart enough to have read the writing on the wall and have actually thought quite creatively about how their particular skills apply well in an online world...

...What’s holding these folks back is not so much individual failings, but systems. Newspapers are still putting out a print product every day, and the routines that make it possible for them to manage chaos and produce the daily miracle on dead trees each morning are notoriously hard to change partly just because they do WORK to make that possible....


Interesting post. I have found journalists to be resistant of change generally. I don't know why.

I think Journalists are only resistant to change because commonly newspaper owners and proprietors have used technological change as as opportunity to get journalists to do more work for less money, rather than as a way of nurturing and developing staff.

Indeed. That has often been a challenge, a challenge exacerbated by how there's a lot of bad management around.

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