A Powerpoint slide to knock the ‘old v new’ journalism argument down for good? I hope so.

How do you sum up where local journalism needs to go to thrive in a digital age?

For a long time, the debate has often been pitched as old vs new. New ways of storytelling vs ‘traditional’ journalism, for example.

But the reality is surely that to thrive, journalism needs to a bit of both – remembering the things which gave it credibility in the first place, while combining the new skills and techniques needed to catch the attention of readers

A bit like the old wedding saying, surely journalism needs to apply the mantra something old, something new, something borrowed …. and if you cover Everton, Birmingham City or Cardiff City, then something blue is also essential (sorry).

That’s why I loved this slide from a presentation the Manchester Evening News’s Beth Ashton gave at the Google News Labs/Trinity Mirror journalism workshop in Manchester on Friday, which was shared by my colleague Alison Gow on Twitter:

It sums up exactly where local journalism has to go, and quickly, while at the same time sharing the excitement the future could hold if we get it right. And I suspect getting it right doesn’t involve endless debates about whether ‘the new’ can co-exist with ‘the old.’ They simply have to.

I know some football journalists who bemoan ‘five things we learnt’ articles after football games. They struggle to articulate why they don’t like them, but here’s the thing: They are far more popular with readers than traditional match reports. Surely that’s the important thing?

It’s not doing away with what the football writer does. S/he is just sharing their insight in a different way. A way the readers seem to prefer.

And that’s why I love that slide so much.


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