Answers for TV & newspapers

“No one in charge wants to fail, of course. But the hesitation to boldly address this emergency is a failure of leadership. Maybe some are waiting for the economy to turn around. The economy isn’t helping matters, but that’s not the problem anymore. Much more fundamental. It’s been called a culture of inertia in the print world.”

Those are the words of a former TV news director, who is actually talking about TV news, not newspapers. TV is following the same path newspapers blazed a few years ago: chasing new customers with an old product, trying to make the audience come to the TV rather than going to where the audience is when it’s there, and chasing news that has only incidental relevance to people’s lives.

“I believe too few people know what to do, and the ones who do aren’t being given the money and authority, along with the time needed, to create the disruptive change.”

Right now, TV’s solution seems to be “make people like you.” Jeff Jarvis comes to the rescue with a more helpful — but much harder — to-do list. This list is not just for TV; newspaper journalists — and newspaper leadership — can easily adapt Jeff’s list to their purposes. It will be difficult and frightening, but not as difficult and frightening as the current path we’re on appears to be.