Journalism 3.0 Thesis Part 1 (an introduction)

[col-sect][column]There is nothing new under the Sun
I thought I would start by letting you all know that you don't need to worry about Journalism any more. Truthful, accurate, timely stories about the world around you are not going anywhere. I promise. Journalism is not dead, it's not even endangered. If there is one thing I've learned from evolution–and reading lot's of books on Megafauna as a kid– it's this:

Holes in the food chain do not remain empty for long (evolutionarily speaking.)

Someone else always shows up to fill in the newly vacated position of "pack shrub grazer."

What I find interesting is that those animals that come in to fill said vacuum, over time, end up looking remarkably similar the animal that left that same role just a few hundred-thousand years earlier. Sure, as the world changes, certain species–specific concepts like scales, very large bodies, and two chamber hearts stop making sense as the earth cools and oxygen becomes less abundant. But if you look at the body shape of a Velociraptor, it has a lot more in common with a wolf, a cheetah, and the thylacine, than say, the lizards that hide under my porch.

The Thylacine is probably one of my favorite animals. It’s a marsupial pack predator living in Tazmainia and is now believed extinct from over hunting. [/column] [column]It’s about the size of most feral dogs and built almost exactly like one too: a long thin torso, big ribcage, long muzzle, perked ears, short hair, long tail.... It’s proof that given similar environmental pressures, the animal that fills a specific role in the environment will end up looking really similar to animals filling similar roles in other parts of the world. Yes, it's not exactly a Wolf or a Hyena, but it looks and behaves more like those animals than say a Koala, which it's actually more closely related to.

That’s because while an environment changes, the roles within a ecosystem are rather static (relatively speaking) and if a species can adapt to a different role where there is less competition, it will. If a species has to adjust to keep it’s role as the environment changes, it will; or it will disappear like the North American Lion.

Dude, where are you going with this?
It's easy to be "objective" about something that fills the "wolf" role in a given ecosystem. It's a lot harder to get perspective on something like our job and our role in a changing society.

So here's the deal. "Journalism" is just a big Northern/Western-World umbrella word under which certain important roles in our social ecosystem have sat for millennia. Historians, Bards, Storytellers, Myth-makers*, Town Criers, have all been pulled slowly, over thousands of years, under this tent we call the Journalist. There isn't much of a difference between Xenophon's account of the March of the 10,000 and Hemingway's Reportage and Robert Capa's work. True, they are not the same animal, but they behave, feel, and function very similarly. They come at you the same way and with similar intentions. So let's forget medium, local, or modus as we discuss the survival of the Journalism species in parts 2 and 3. When survival is the question, everything is on the table.

Part 2 to come soon.