TV stations must embrace personal media tools

Here is the latest in the on-going series of essays, TV News in a Postmodern World. This is the 46th entry in the series and is cross-posted at morph, The Media Center’s blog.

This essay examines the conundrum of professional specialization, and how it becomes a net liability when technology takes the place of specialists. Too many television stations ignore the incredible flexibility offered everyday people — thanks to disruptive technologies — and, instead, fight them tooth and nail in the (mistaken) belief that a single individual can’t possibly do their job. In so doing, stations are missing cost-effective opportunities and running the risk of losing the video news niche in their markets downstream.

BONUS: Fred Hutchinson emails from the deep end of the pond:

The eighteenth century was the era of the versatile generalist.

During the next century the rise of the era of the credentialed specialist began — which was good for technology but bad for general culture. I wonder if the blog world is a swing back to the generalist? I am a versatile polymath, facilitated by the www.

To which I responded: This is excellent, Fred. I’ve grown from a credentialed specialist to a versatile generalist, and I think the change strikes at the core of postmodernism and will impact things far beyond the media. The difference between the old versatile generalist and the new is that technology is replacing the specialists for us by providing easy access to knowledge. I believe even the institutions of law and medicine will be inevitable victims of this, because a database search can replace even the sharpest legal and medical minds. These two institutions will fight the hardest for the status quo.

Stay tuned, folks.

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