Gingras opens up the lecture quite ominously as he says journalism is in a “period of disruption.” He then clarifies that “period” may not be the right word choice, because “it’s not clear to [him] when, and if, it’ll end.” This is a scary thing to hear right off the bat. He’s speaking to a group of journalism students who are well aware of the problems in the newspaper industry and this is how this speaker decides to open the lecture. I’m sure it grabbed their attention, because it certainly grabbed mine. However, he then said how he is optimistic about the future of journalism. But still, the thought of how long this “disruption” could last is an uncertainty that no one can seem to answer.
Although journalism is struggling, Gingras believes that entrepreneurship is vital to today’s journalist’s and he believes people should use entrepreneurship to help increase your personal brand. Understanding how to do that was something he was very adamant about. Also, I have never heard a guy be this enthusiastic about making mistakes. “Take risks,” he says, “learn new skills,” he adds, and “don’t be afraid from being wrong.” It is this frame of mind that I enjoyed hearing, because I am a firm believer in making mistakes. The best way to learn something is to fail and to build off of those experiences. So, it was nice to hear someone who also felt that way and he said it in a way that reassured his audience that making mistakes was okay.
A point that Gingras made a few times throughout the lecture was “rethink the form.” There is a reason he mentioned this point on numerous occasions; it’s very important, obviously. He brings up talk of the old regime of newspaper men who are hellbent on creating print and indifferent about everything else. This is wrong in today’s media industry, as there has to be a balance between everything that makes up a journalist’s job, which is considerably more complex than it was a few short years ago. In the same vain, Gingras mentions how social media has influenced the news product and in an age of Twitter and powerpoint, “I will get up and cheer the first time I see bullet points in an article.” This is fascinating to his larger point, as he really wants journalists to rethink the form, in any fashion, and, even though bullet points may not be the answer in the end, the worst thing this idea could be is wrong, which would only benefit the big picture, as it is an experience to learn from and build of off.
As Gingras’ lecture was drawing to a close, he talked about how news organizations need to build trust with the public again. Gingras talks about the trust between the public and the news media, which is at an all-time low, and plays into the decline of the newspaper model. It is apparent that some people do not trust the news organizations that deliver the news anymore, which, in my point of view, is unfortunate, but that is simply the way people are nowadays, skeptical of nearly everything. Times have changed and the news organizations that thrived off of being the prestigious source for news are no longer benefitting from that prestige, as other sources for news have come about and have become easier and more convenient for some people to use.
One way Gingras feels this trust can be restored is by not hiding who you are to the reader. He brought up how a journalist does not want to reveal his personal views on something, because it is a poor journalistic approach and is fundamentally wrong. However, in Gingras’ eyes, this is being disingenuous to the reader, since they do not know something about the author. He also believes there should be a link to the personal background of a journalist. This is in order for the reader gets the whole scope of a journalist’s view so the reader knows what he or she is getting when they read a story. I have mixed feelings about this view, as journalists are painted as being objective and if people know that they have some sort of bias and which bias it is, that trust that is looking to be gained back may become lost for good, as news consumers will not be able to take some journalists serious after that.
This view by Gingras of establishing trust by revealing personal information also correlates with the personal brand and how the news industry is becoming more focused on the individual. This is a great observation by Gingras, as he has realized how the media has shifted to a form that is more focused on individuals with the emergence of social media sites. A journalist can get information across without having to write it in a paper anymore. They can simply tweet it and thousands of people will read it instantly. It is this instantaneous news that will drive the new form of news in the future. I will be interested as to what exactly that new form will be though, as nothing is set in stone at the moment.