You need more than good writing skills

This was another issue that came up during the Journalism Leaders Forum. One question put to the panel was whether there was still a place in the newsroom for new, young, talented writers.

My answer was “yes”, but I’d want to know what else they could do too. Could they build their online community, for example.

However, Alan Murray, deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, puts it better than I in a video for Nieman Journalism Lab.

Rupert Murdoch: editors are forgetting their readers

“It’s not newspapers that might become obsolete. It’s some of the editors, reporters and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper’s most precious asset: the bond with its readers.”

I have been catching up with an ABC Boyer Lecture given by Rupert Murdoch in November last year (thanks to Dilyan for the recommendation and link).

In it Rupert about his career in newspapers, gives his take on the Wapping dispute, The Times compact, plans for the WSJ and the loss of newspaper power in the face of the internet:


Some other interesting quotes:

“Instead of finding stories that are relevant to their readers’ lives, papers run stories reflecting their own interests. Instead of writing for their audience, they are writing for their fellow journalists. And instead of commissioning stories that will gain them readers, some editors commission stories whose sole purpose is the quest for a prize.”

“I do not claim to have all the answers. Given the realities of modern technology, this very radio address can be sliced and digitally diced. It can be accessed in a day or a month or a decade. And I can rightly be held to account in perpetuity for the points on which I am proven wrong—as well as mocked for my inability to see just how much more different the world had become.”

There is also a full transcript.

Google devalues everything it touches

…says Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Mr Thomson, along with Walter Isaacson of Time and Mort Zuckerman of The New York Daily News discuss the future of newspapers:

[via The Big Picture]

The debate covers micropayments, Google, Kindle, debt, over-reliance on advertisers and the self-referential nature of journalism.

Fascinating to hear the take of people immersed in the quest to preserve the newspaper business.