I have seen the future of journalism and his name is Andy Abramson.
I happened to be looking at Techmeme last night, and I saw that the lead story – at the very tippy top of the heap – was a piece by Abramson, from his blog VoIP Watch. It was titled “Creative Video Blogging and the New ‘Instant Journalism.'” I was intrigued. I’ve found that most things that are “instant” are inherently good. Like instant soup and instant coffee, for instance. They don’t taste like much, but they’re really quick to prepare. You boil some water, pour it into a cup – preferably styrofoam – and bingo! you’re out the door and on your way. So “Instant Journalism” seemed like a concept that I could resonate to. In today’s fast-paced, always-on world, who needs taste?
Here’s how the piece begins:
With all that is going on this year at CES, an event I’m going to for the next few days it’s going to be the independent news sources, not the main stream media where a lot of the “breaking news” and more interesting stories get told. With blogging, podcasting and video blogging from anywhere there’s an IP connection, we have entered an era of “Instant Jouralism” and of “just in time” distribution of news content.
At first, I admit, I didn’t “get it.” It seemed like illiterate mush. But then I realized I was looking at the article through eyes corrupted by years of paying attention to the “main stream media.” What I had thought were signs of a broken educational system – the seemingly random placement of commas, the spastic syntax, the obnoxious overuse of quotation marks, the goofy misspelling of “Jouralism” – were actually signs of the New Instantaneousness. “Instant Jouralists” cannot be concerned with punctuation and grammar and spelling. That stuff just “slows you down.” To be an “Instant Jouralist,” you have to write as if you were being pursued by a cheetah across the Serengeti. Don’t stop to think. Just let it rip. And who needs that “n” in journalism anyway? I knew precisely what Abramson meant, and by dispensing with the unneeded letter, he was able to be just that much more instantaneous.
The way news is gathered, who it is gathered by, where and how it is disseminated is changing. What people want to know about, and where they go to find it, is changing too.
You can’t deny it: All those things is right.
Take the Technology Evangelist, Benjamin Higginbotham, and the way he is taking creativity in blogging to the next level, using video blogging, reporting and video mail to tell people all the cool things that are happening at CES this year. The way he’s doing it, asking the audience what the want covered, then going out, getting the stories and posting them to his blog is very imaginative and part of what I’m labeling “the New Journalism” which is fueled by “Instant Journalism.”
Give the people exactly what they tell you they want, no more, no less. That is imaginative. I would even say it takes imagination to the next level. Now, I vaguely remember somebody else labeling something “the New Journalism” a long time ago. I think that, maybe, Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson and Norman Mailer were involved. But I don’t remember any of them being fueled by “Instant Journalism.” I think they “composed” their work before they pushed the publish button. So they were probably more like “Old New Journalists” rather than “New New Journalists.”
The piece continues in its instantaneous fashion for a few more paragraphs. There are some memorable instant sentences. Like this one: “In the sake of transparency, he’s doing this unsolicited but SightSpeed certainly appreciates his efforts for they, like I, know a great idea when we see it.” Or this one: “At media events I have my press badge and as a member of the instant journalism world hopefully at the front of the pack, not at the back of the room.” See? You can actually throw down words in a random order and still achieve near-comprehensibility!
What is going to make [CES] different this time is the Internet’s new Instant Journalists. You see, for the companies that can tell their story, show their wares and which don’t manufacturer hype, but have something to say, and are willing to give time to the new “Instant Journalists” will be the ones that get seen and it will be the Instant Journalists who tell that story for them like never before, in a time frame that has now become the standard, not the exception—Instantly..
I looked at Abramson’s bio. He seems to be combining the roles of journalist and PR guy. That makes a lot of sense because it makes everything more efficient. I’m convinced that Abramson is right. “Instant Jouralism” is the future. Indeed, in his words we may be getting a glimpse of journalism’s final resting place.