Poynter is where journalists and the community can go to learn just about anything having to do with news: how it's told, how to tell it better, and how to tell the stories everyone else overlooked. With the downsizing of American newsrooms, lots of important stories are not getting the proper spotlight.
PBS's Gwen Ifill lead a conversation covering the Changing Media Landscape this morning with panelists from Tampa Bay's top news organizations (but nary a panelist from said changed landscape). Much of the conversation was optimistic, along the lines of, "Yeah, we've hit some hard times but look how we've used the economic downturn to improve..." It was a little like squeezing lemonade from rocks.
Panelist Paul Tash, editor of the St. Petersburg Times, hit the issue on the nose
when he said that journalism is "not quite as reliable at finding what goes on around the edges."
WMNF's/WEDU's Rob Lorei addressed the issue of how to make local government entertaining enough to watch on a Friday night, and the Poynter's Ellyn Angelotti discussed how Facebook and other social networking sites can help unearth some of those sought-after untold stories. Both were on the panel along with Tash, TBBJ's Alexis Muellner and Media General's John Schueler.
Ifill seemed to have said what everyone was thinking when she stated: "A journalist's greatest fear is that we've missed something." She then asked how journalists could prevent another story like Enron from slipping through the cracks of empty newsrooms and damaging our democracy.
Yesterday I watched a similar conversation on C-SPAN, about the New Media landscape in Iran. There's a country that has no choice but to listen to what their citizen journalists have to say because their media outlets were closed by the state, forcing journalists into the blogosphere.
The political atmosphere in this country may indicate some brewing storms but we're far from sharing Iran's dire straits. Still, why wait for the country to really come apart before adopting innovation?