Small ball and journalism

Forgive the sports metaphor, but the College World Series has rubbed off on me.

Small ball is a metaphor for probably what’s ahead in journalism. Start-ups and smaller news organizations will become more and more common. Nicco Mele has written about this phenomenon on a larger level in “The End of Big” where he describes how “radical connectivity” — the power of the Internet and mobile — is changing everything. In the latest Nieman Reports, he writes about the effect on journalism and his fears for what is next for investigative journalism. Mele says he is worried the most about the “loss of investigative journalism–holding power accountable–and the loss of a broad public sphere.” I’m worried about those two things as well. This self-proclaimed digital guy ends the essay with this:

“This is an exciting time to be a journalist. Opportunities abound; start-ups proliferate by the day. The future won’t look like the past. It won’t be the same, and it’s up to us to make sure that there is continuity in the core values of the profession as it is transformed.”

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 1.44.05 PMOne example of this new small sphere highlighted in the Nieman Reports is  Homicide Watch D.C., run from Laura Amico’s kitchen table. The site, which has as its mission to  “mark every murder death, remember every victim and follow every case, ” is a terrific example of what a very small newsroom can do. I am inspired by her work on many levels, but I was even more inspired by these words Laura Amico wrote:

“I’m a journalism. I believe in journalism, and I believe in our communities. I believe in holding those in power accountable. I believe in building civic knowledge. I believe in celebrating the good and trying to understand and solve the bad. But mostly I believe in storytelling, in the power of stories to validate who we are, how we live our lives, and our experiences, and the power of stories to allow us to enter into a communion with our communities, sharing who we are, and perhaps together, becoming who we would hope to be.”

I believe in that kind of journalism too. I believe it can be done in small shops and big newsrooms. I think many journalists also believe those same ideals, and we have to let them show in our work and the way we work.

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