Maureen Tkacik, of Jezebel fame, closes her eyes and meditates on the future of the printed/pixelated word. She suggests abandoning authority and productively channeling narcissism:
From a commercial perspective, “branding” has consistently bestowed its greatest rewards on those capable of projecting a kind of elusive authority that turns consumers’ fears, insecurities, aspirations, unarticulated dreams, etc. into healthy profit margins. But a sense of humanity is also a kind of authority. And maybe the best policy for our beaten-down population of journalists just naturally involves letting down the old guard of objectivity and letting go of illusions of unimpeachability. Rather than train journalists to dismiss their own experiences, what if we trained them to use those experiences to help them explain the news to their audience? Allow their humanity to shape their journalism? This isn’t some radically profound notionit only seems that way in the context of the ridiculous zero-sum debate over the relative merits of “straight” news versus the self-absorbed nature of blogs. Maybe there is a way to combine the best of both.
If journalism’s more vital traditions of investigating corruption and synthesizing complex topics are going to be restored, it will never be at the expense of the personal, the sexual, the venal, or the sensational, but rather through mastering the kind of storytelling that understands that none of those things exists in a vacuum.
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