Tim Skubick's column is the one thing you can count on in the Lansing State Journal. Every Friday, it's usually there on the opinion page. Skubick has become a statewide brand having hosted a PBS political talk show, reporting for various radio and television stations in the state and having written two books.
In his prime as a reporter, he covered Michigan's State Capitol like a beat and drew attention to stories that state citizens needed to know about. He passed his reporting skills on to several classes of journalism students at Michigan State.
In today's column, he muddles through some harsh criticism about today's younger generation. First, he belittles them for their reliance on technology, rather than personal human interaction. He says they need to pull away from their "crackerberries."
He points to a forum at the Michigan State University Law School where students were given access to all the major players in a high profile local child abuse/murder case. Very few of those attending asked questions, he said.
Most students get their news from the Daily Show with John Stewart. If I recall correctly, he called them ambivalent, rather than apathetic. They had no fire in their individual or collective bellies.
I agree with much of what Skubick says. But, as one who has worked in the State Capitol Press Corps during the seventies and eighties and some of the nineties, I have to admit that I'm looking at the situation through different perceptual filters.
As a Michigan State University School of Journalism Graduate, I valued mainstream media. Newspapers were vital and dynamic and so were the news departments for many radio and television stations. Well, Timmy, times have changed. That doesn't exist anymore.
Mainstream media is dying. It's been a long, slow death. It's good that you're close to retirement because what you were used to will be gone. Get used to it or live in a constant state of denial.
Pull out a Lansing State Journal. Look for hard news. Look for coverage of the Lansing City Council and its various meetings. They're not there. What gets the coverage? Sports and cooking.
The new media is on the web. Blogs. Do you have one? Have you ever used a wiki? Are you familiar with web 2.0?
I realize that you had a deadline for a Friday column and maybe this was a quick and easy hit and that it doesn't reflect your true feelings.
Look at this stuff through your users' eyes. Look at how they process information and how they connect emotionally with that information.
Before you sign off the reporting thing Skubick, you have a lot of pass down to the younger generation. A blog would be the perfect place to do it.