The Daily Need

Michael Oreskes: A veteran journalist discusses the future of news

Inspired by the intense reader interest in our “How to fix America” segment, we decided to shift the conversation closer to our own backyard for “How to fix journalism,” the next installment of the series. To date, much of the discussion regarding the ailing news media has been framed as one of polar choices — print versus pixels, reporter versus blogger, free versus paid — with the occasional digression into a blowout pissing contest (we’re looking at you Bill Keller and Arianna Huffington) that many have understandably written off as occupational narcissism run amok. Yet, despite being fraught with the risk of enabling journalists to navel gaze endlessly, a conversation about the future of news seems like a particularly timely one in light of the extraordinary events that have unfolded from the streets of Egypt to the shores of Japan in recent weeks — all of which have underscored the need for a strong and vital global fourth estate.

Over the coming days, we will be talking to publishers, editors and entrepreneurs about the myriad challenges facing the industry and focus on solutions that can point the way to a revitalized, sustainable model for journalism in the 21st century.

Michael Oreskes at the AP headquarters in New York City.


Michael Oreskes
Senior Managing Editor, Associated Press
New York City

Hand wringers would be hard pressed to find any commiseration from this veteran newsman, who remains optimistic about the future of journalism after 36 years in the business. Michael Oreskes, 56, senior managing editor of the Associated Press, talked to us from his offices at the AP headquarters in midtown Manhattan about the century-old news agency that can trace its provenance back to the Mexican-American war and why it remains relevant in today’s rapidly evolving news environment.

Audio Excerpts

A cooperative approach to news

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Tracking and protecting content

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Making a case for quality journalism

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Covering the Gulf oil spill

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Oreskes, previously the executive editor of the International Herald Tribune and deputy managing editor at The New York Times (where he oversaw web and television content), also weighed in on the debate regarding online content protection, and discussed the advantages that traditional news agencies can still leverage in covering multifaceted stories like last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill (for which the AP recently garnered a George Polk award for environmental reporting).

While acknowledging the digital future of the industry, Oreskes cautioned aspiring journalists not to lose sight of the basics. “It’s not about technology. It’s about getting it right. It’s about explaining it clearly. … The core values of journalism are the things that make it valuable, and I think that’s what people really should focus on learning. There’s a certain tendency to think that what you need to know is how to write computer code or how to edit a piece of video — and those are good skills, they’re important skills — but those aren’t the skills that will define the difference between great journalism and all that other stuff that’s out there.”

 

Comments

  • Teyool

    MOST OF OUR “NEWS” IS MORE ENTERTAINMENT THAN REAL NEWS AND/OR FOCUS’ US ON FEAR PROMOTING ARTICLES – BBC IS A LITTLE BETTER THOUGH NOT MUCH BETTER THAN OUR NEWS HERE IN THE USA – GERMAN NEWS IS MORE INFORMATIVE.

  • Guest

    I’m curious if we all think that audio excerpts posted online are the future of news. I don’t think it’s a very handy way to get information.

  • Anonymous

    Many of the American Journalism that are happening to be highly controlled by the corporate institutions expend these last 20 Years deceiving the US population. They are so tightly controlled in the local and federal level, that they can no longer point out the mistakes of the Government neither the Corporate financial institutions itself. Do you think anyone can fix it at this stage when they already so long missed the boat?
    I personally think is not possible to fix anything in a Government and Corporate system that are fundamentally wrong. But hey, we can go around and around “bs-ing” about it! Please, forget about the Corporate American PR! Watch the new American RT-TV! They seem to have found a better way to report on the American reality that is more honest and consistent with the truth.

    Norman Solomon: “You Can’t Really Trust the Media”
    http://youtu.be/3E-NW0lJ0GI

  • Sskkk

    xxxyyy

  • HERDTHEGOATS

    AS LONG AS YELLOW JOURNALISM PAY THE BILLS OH WELL,POOR INFORMATION IS THE BASE OF OUR ERROR