CJR series tackles questions about future of news

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) is looking at the future of news from all angles in a new series called “Press Forward: Dialogues on the Future of News.”

In an introduction to the series, CJR editors explain the reasoning behind the project:

“Somewhere along the way, we began talking about the future of news in terms of salvation. What will save us? we began wondering. Or, more optimistically: How will we save ourselves? The premise of those questions is flawed. The matter isn’t one of salvation. It’s a matter, rather, of evolution. News will continue, but what shape will it take? What will the transition from the analog world to the digital mean for news as we have known it? What changes and challenges will this new medium trigger in the genetic structure of news itself? Where is the business going, and how will it get there?

“These are questions that inspire fright, haste, and dyspepsia in the unprepared; questions that tend to elicit snap judgments, quick generalizations, and ill-fitting answers. But it is best not to bluster through such an epochal transition. The challenges faced by modern journalism are best addressed by systematic thinking about the specific functions of the news and the Internet. There is merit in attempting to decouple the medium and the message; in attempting to understand the definite properties of each before trying to understand how they fit together.

“To that end, we introduce Press Forward: Dialogues on the Future of News. In a series of essays, interviews, case studies, and roundtable discussions, we’ll explore news’s past as a way of guiding its future.”

A new unit (that looks at different topics) will be introduced about every three weeks.