Espacio Crítico 7 otoño 2009

agosto 10, 2009

The End of Fortress Journalism

Filed under: Reflexiones sobre periodismo (Blogs sobre medios) — Etiquetas: , , — Regina Santiago Núñez @ 2:36 pm

Lunes, 27 de julio de 2009 07

Peter Horrocks

The BBC College of Journalism has this week made available a document called the Future of Journalism.

It’s a collection of papers discussing the changes to news in a digital age from a BBC media conference that took place late last year.

In The End of Fortress Journalism, I’ve written about how journalists are having to reassess how they work. Some people (including Charlie Beckett, Jay Rosen, Daniel Bennett and Bill Doskoch) have been kind enough to tweet and blog about it.

I’d be interested to hear your views on what I’ve written. There’s an excerpt below, and you can download the collection (The Future of Journalism [359Kb PDF]).

Most journalists have grown up with a fortress mindset. They have lived and worked in proud institutions with thick walls. Their daily knightly task has been simple: to battle journalists from other fortresses. But the fortresses are crumbling and courtly jousts with fellow journalists are no longer impressing the crowds. The end of fortress journalism is deeply unsettling for us and requires a profound change in the mindset and culture of journalism.


Fortress journalism has been wonderful. Powerful, long-established institutions provided the perfect base for strong journalism. The major news organisations could nurture skills, underwrite risk and afford expensive journalism. The competition with other news organisations inspired great journalism and if the journalist got into trouble – legally, physically or with the authorities – the news organisation would protect and support. It has been familiar and comfortable for the journalist.


But that world is rapidly being eroded. The themes are familiar. Economic pressures – whether in the public or private sectors – are making the costs of the fortresses unsustainable. Each week brings news of redundancies and closures. The legacy costs of buildings, printing presses, studios and all the other structural supports of the fortress are proving too costly for the revenues that can now be generated.

If this all sounds a bit grim I can make no apology, but I do think – and mention in the paper – that there are some reasons for optimism. Do let me know what you think.

Peter Horrocks is the director of BBC World Service.


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