I was in Milwaukee recently as a speaker for a newsmaker event for the Society for Professional Journalists at the Newsroom Pub. First off, the pub did not resemble a newsroom, and Teddy Roosevlet’s signature was on a glass-encased, framed chalkboard on the wall, along with hundreds of other signatures. They didn’t ask me for mine. The front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that day offered a story on the paper’s Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. It was a good day for journalism in Beer Town.
As I chomped on the french fried green beans, portabello mushrooms, chicken strips and batter-dipped, deep fried macaroni and cheese (this was a first) before my presentation, I was struck by the students and working journalists who wanted definitive answers. Politely, of course.
Is there a correlation between media outlets that have a democractic approach to news gathering with a more open sourcing, narrative style and value-added content and their circulation? No, you can’t say A leads to B. Because so many different factors go into a paper’s success.
Outside it was pouring rain and inside we had an energetic discussion on what this all means; several students wanted to know more. It’s a disruptive time for media, but there will always be a need for content. Where and how that content arrives as the best option for the audience is not clear. I was sure of one thing: its takes a lot of nerve and oil to french fry green beans.