Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What 'The Big Short' Has to Say About the Journalism Industry

The epigraph to Michael Lewis' new book, The Big Short, could be applied as easily to the journalism industry today as Lewis applied it to the recently crashed financial industry.

It reads:

The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.

-- Leo Tolstoy

The primary challenge to journalism finding its way forward today, to finding new sustainable financial models, is the fact that many in journalism, especially at the highest levels, believe they know certain parameters to be immuatable. Until the industry goes back to the beginning, and revists every truth it believes to be self-evident, and assesses which really are immuatable, and which were simply artifacts of the ecosystem and technological environment in which they emerged, the industry will not be able to see, much less embrace, those new truths which will be the key to its future viability, and success.

Photo courtesy of:
ercwttmn, Flickr. Creative Commons license.

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