When This American Life founder and host Ira Glass addressed the University of North Texas’s fifth annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, he had a few hopeful words about the future of journalism. I keep a list here at Utne Reader of every sputtering mouth that bemoans the “death of journalism” and at the end of this year I’m going to travel the country with the world’s largest role of duct tape. Everybody on my list will have their mouths covered (I promise I’ll be gentle) and their hands secured behind their backs (and away from their keyboards). Ira Glass, you will be free to continue as you were.
Hmph, that was a little creepy. Apologies. Here’s an excerpt from a Dallas Observer report on Glass’ address:
Glass focused his lecture on the beauty of a good narrative story, but also gave some practical advice. Glass threw the journalists in the room an idea for future survival based on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Glass imagined a future for journalism “where you would have the tone of the Daily Show–talking in normal language, but they would be real reporters.”
As an example, he played a segment from his radio show where a reporter found a way to make a piece on the mortgage crises mesmerizing. The reporter recorded her attempts to find the person who was supposed to be in charge of oversight for the industry that collapsed. Each person she spoke to sent her to somebody else. Throughout the piece, she used chatty sentences to talk to the listener, like, “It sounds crazy, right?”
“I can imagine that would be a place that journalism could move towards and survive,” said Glass, suggesting a casual conversation would replace the medium’s more “stiff” formalities. “I feel like it‘s a great time, because it’s wide-open.”
Source: Dallas Observer
Image by Nancy Updike.