No necesitamos periódicos, necesitamos periodismo

Clay Shirky, escritor, consultor y profesor norteamericano, dedicado a analizar los efectos económicos de la tecnología desarrollada en internet y el futuro de los medios, ha publicado un post donde analiza la revolución que está sucediendo en torno a la prensa escrita, la tantas veces ninguneada muerte de los periódicos y ahora ya desesperada búsqueda del nuevo modelo. Si entendiésemos que a partir de ahora no necesariamente periodismo y papel van de la mano, empezaríamos a comprender la situación, que por el momento está hecha más de preguntas que de respuestas. Como en toda época de revolución y cambios, no podemos ver el futuro sin antes experimentar, arriesgarnos, abrazar lo impensable.

Sin que pueda servir de excusa para que lean el post completo, les dejo unos fragmentos:

Inside the papers, the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out the window and noticing that the real world was increasingly resembling the unthinkable scenario. These people were treated as if they were barking mad. Meanwhile the people spinning visions of popular walled gardens and enthusiastic micropayment adoption, visions unsupported by reality, were regarded not as charlatans but saviors. When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse.


“If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.


That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen.


And so it is today. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.


I don’t know. Nobody knows. We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it. The internet turns 40 this fall. Access by the general public is less than half that age. Web use, as a normal part of life for a majority of the developed world, is less than half that age. We just got here. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen.

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