The News Diamond reinterpreted: “Let the crowd have the middle”

News Diamond showing area where journalists should focus - the edges

Shuler’s amended News Diamond showing area where journalists should focus – the edges

Jonathon Shuler has published a post exploring the News Diamond from my Model for a 21st Century Newsroom. As part of that he’s added an extra layer to the diamond showing which areas professional journalists should focus on, and which ones they should let go:

“Let the crowd have the middle of the diamond. Just let it go, our time there is ending. There’s too many of them, they are too fast, they will out man and out maneuver you every time that it matters to them–and if it doesn’t matter to them, I bet there’s not much of a market for it. Just walk away… and watch.”

He finishes by arguing that commercial journalism needs to raise the bar:

“The future of Journalism is not to become public service with the hopes of gratuity, but a professional service with professional expectations and results. If people are going to blogs and the crowd instead of your publications, it’s because your publication is not meeting the expectations of your audience. As a publication you have the choice to evolve to meet those expectations, find a new audience, or leave.”

Read his post in full here.


8 thoughts on “The News Diamond reinterpreted: “Let the crowd have the middle”

  1. Peter Demain

    Gotta say that this diagram reminded me very much of the charts and graphs of The Day Today.

    To me the crux of it all is creating good shit. Whatever ‘good’ is to the hack concerned in terms of predilections and skill.

    Jonathon said: “The future of Journalism is not to become public service with the hopes of gratuity, but a professional service with professional expectations and results.”

    There are other trades deemed professional that act in service of the public: this fact lessens the impact of this statement. That’s without getting into the semantics of professionalism, what that ought to or does entail blah de blah.

    I see posts in blogs that are better than the newspapers in that they adhere to the principles that defined journalism before the presses were unearthed from the familial/paternalistic owners and replanted in the back yard of various big firms. Things like evidence, facts, checking, truth, accuracy, and as much impartiality as can be mustered – even if that historically perfection in that matter has not been acheived by any single journo.

    If professionalism is in blogs and salaried hacks are doing subpar churnalist claptrap sourced from the wire – isn’t the officebound situation at present upended compared to what should be the case?

    Economics will settle this. In the meantime I suggest journalism as an activity worthy of pursuit rather than theorizing diamond charts since most hacks won’t look at them with even less enthused enough to take it to heart in making journalism.

    Pete, editor at Dirty Garnet.

    1. Peter Demain

      Clarification on principles: I meant they’re old, rather than prevalent in an idealized past. Journalism has always been flawed, though it’s probably more festering now than anytime prior with principles amongst paid hacks in particular foregone by default. When humans who aren’t even paid represent the ideals better in what they do it follows that there are some huge problems on the commercial side.

      Whether the worst offenders in the drudge (of which there are thousands) should even be considered journalists is debatable. To quote a term coined by Nick Davies, they’d be better described as ‘churnalists’.


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    1. Peter Demain

      There are benefits other than the monetary: a well-informed public; governments and firms better held to account; better work environment than being officebound all day; certain satisfaction from doing something meaningful…

      All this stuff benefits in a way that isn’t quantifiable in a figure. If it means foregoing top-heavy corporate culture and the drudge of wire and PR infested cannibilizing to my mind that’s well worth a pay cut. The trade at present has degenerated to a pedestrian white-collar trade with most of its uniqueness and skills absent.


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