Chris Cillizza wrote an article for the Washington Post about changes
in journalism. He said the The New York Times has a new lead media writer, Jim Rutenberg, and Rutenberg wrote a story on how journalism must and should change. Rutenburg and Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei said “journalists are killing journalism.”
In today’s media landscape there are many competing articles that are nearly identical. For example, a presidential candidate’s latest speech or conflict on the transportation budget negotiations.
Smart and aggressively competitive media companies will write what the audience will want to read and make it different from other news media. To do that, he identifies three categories: the “what”, the “so what”, and the “now what”.
The “what” basket is information on the things that happened in the story. The “so what” basket is why something happened or why it mattered. The “now what” basket is about where the story is headed.
A decade or so ago, news organizations spent almost all of their time and resources on the “what” of every story. The Internet changed everything by being the answer to any question and any thing, letting people type what they want to see, and get the “what” almost anywhere within seconds.
As the “what” started to slowly become the least of the reader’s interest, the “so what” and “now what” began to rise. The media changed Journalism completely.
Comedy Central illustrated the idea that people didn’t just want to read new stories everyday, but people wanted some voice with their news. This is the “so what” in a news story that adds some humor, empathy, and relevance to a story.
Journalism badly needs the “what”, or the point tends to get lost.
However, sometimes the audience wants more than just the “what” because the users or readers have become critically thinking participants making the “so what” and the “now what” very important.
The “now what” often shows readers how they are part of the story or can affect social change. Viralnews stories, trends, and blog sites are examples of the further reaching effects of the new journalism.
This is what is unique about the Mountain View Mirror. The journalists who contribute articles to the Mirror are engaged in a learning process that invites them to think both critically and creatively.
Many of the news sites that are our competition talk about very non-essential things their audience and readers don’t really care about.
I believe Chris Cillizza was trying to get across that writing good journalism is all about understanding and having empathy for what you are writing about and how interesting an otherwise boring, uninteresting article can be if you place yourself in the victim’s shoes. The story especially comes to life if you give your reader something to do, some action they can take to participate in the story.
On other news websites, the writers will write all about bland topics in a topically correct way, but lacking empathy for the protagonists of their stories. But readers find that approach bland, which is why the Mountain View Mirror is informational and factional with current events written from a unique perspective–the perspective of the protagonist of the story.
Since the Mountain View Mirror launched in October of 2015 we have become the largest secondary education newspaper in the country. We dwarf our competition by three fold.