Everything seemed to be going along well Dec. 16 during Jeff Jarvis’ keynote at TVNewsCheck‘s NewsTECHForum in New York City.
Jeff Jarvis, CUNY journalism professor, says local TV news now has a chance to remake itself.
Jarvis, the director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, challenged those in attendance to rethink what TV news can do.
There’s an opportunity right now to change TV news, Jarvis said, because the Internet is beginning to pose a threat as more young people choose to go online to get informed.
Those responsible for the business side of TV news are more likely now to be open to new ideas and experimentation in an effort to engage younger viewers and preserve audience, he said.
Far from a detriment, the Internet can offer TV news a new appeal by giving a voice to the voiceless, he said. Savvy broadcasters have the chance to tap into the presence of “many eyes and many ears on the world” via the Internet, he said.
In so doing, they can give a voice to those who otherwise would have no way to report what they are witnessing on TV.
While Jarvis is an engaging speaker, things got weird during the Q&A that followed the keynote.
Someone in the audience asked Jarvis if his suggestion of giving voice to the public via the Internet doesn’t in effect elevate people who “stand on a soapbox with no checks, no balances, no second sourcing, no what we would call block-and-tackle news reporting, no credibility and no — quite honestly — accountability” to the same level as journalists working for the organizations represented in the room, and how could he justify doing so.
(Note: This question starts at about 43:09 into this audio recording of the keynote.)
Simply put, Jarvis exploded, launching into a diatribe but not really answering the question.
I frankly was a little embarrassed and nonplussed by how he chose to react to what I believe was a legitimate question.
Listen for yourself and let me know what you think. Aside from that cringeworthy episode, I thought Jarvis made some insightful observations. The keynote is worth a listen.