TITLE: Headline: "Dinosaurs Object to Meteor's Presence" AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: July 24, 2013 11:44 AM DESC: ----- BODY:
Don't try to sell a meteor to a dinosaur...
Nate Silver recently announced that he is leaving the New York Times for ESPN. Margaret Sullivan offers some observations on the departure, into how political writers at the Times viewed Silver and his work:
... Nate disrupted the traditional model of how to cover politics. His entire probability-based way of looking at politics ran against the kind of political journalism that The Times specializes in: polling, the horse race, campaign coverage, analysis based on campaign-trail observation, and opinion writing. ... His approach was to work against the narrative of politics. ... A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. The first time I wrote about him I suggested that print readers should have the same access to his writing that online readers were getting. I was surprised to quickly hear by e-mail from three high-profile Times political journalists, criticizing him and his work. ...
Maybe Silver decided to acquiesce to Hugh MacLeod's advice. Maybe he just got a better deal. The world changes, whether we like it or not. The New York Times and its journalists probably have the reputation, the expertise, and the strong base they need to survive the ongoing changes in journalism, with or without Silver. Other journalists don't have the luxury of being so cavalier. I don't know any more attitudes inside the New York Times than what I see reported in the press, but Sullivan's article made me think of one of Anil Dash's ten rules of the internet:
When a company or industry is facing changes to its business due to technology, it will argue against the need for change based on the moral importance of its work, rather than trying to understand the social underpinnings.
I imagine that a lot of people at the Times are indeed trying to understand the social underpinnings of the changes occurring in the media and trying to respond in useful ways. But that doesn't mean that everyone on the inside is, or even that the most influential and high-profile people in the trenches are. And that's adds an internal social challenge to the external technological challenge. Alas, we see much the same dynamic playing out in universities across the country, including my own. Some dinosaurs have been around for a long time. Others are near the beginning of their careers. The internal social challenges are every bit as formidable as the external economic and technological ones. -----