Business as usual

Journalism, like higher education and health care, are in the throes of industry transformations. The news profession's idea of "business as usual" functions as a defensive rationalization that blinds them to the deep changes they could make. Here's how the mental chatter of industry strategists and leadership may sound if it we're possible to listen in:
  • The changes in technology do not change people's need for news or their reliance on our journalistic expertise.
  • No matter how much the customers change their taste and consumer preferences, they'll still need to know what's on sale and what's an especially good bargain today.
  • Just because readers are chatting up their friends more than ever does not change their need for the latest news.
  • So long as we keep on doing what we're trusted, respected and celebrated for doing, we'll be okay.
  • When people quit needing trusted sources for news, we'll know it in advance because we'll be covering the democracy becoming a failed state.
  • We're not heroes or vigilantes - we're in this together - people need to read the news as much as we need to report on it.
  • There's no way for the news to get old or out of date because it's our job to keep on top of anything that's changing.
When we entertain defensive rationalizations like these, we need a wake up call. We're asleep at the wheel and blinded by our own assumptions. We cannot see what's really happening because we've convinced ourselves we're smarter than that. Our overconfidence seems to us like realistic appraisals, rational decisions and logical conclusions. We'll wake up when we hit a wall or drive off the cliff. There's no stopping us "barreling down the road to ruin" when we're in the clear to pursue business as usual.

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