Needless to say, things can seem gloomy. The always-hard-to-finance journalism that resembles literature as much as it does craft or commerce—as Nabokov wrote of great fiction, a combination of “magic, story, lesson”—is just as difficult to pay for and to achieve, but even fewer readers seek it out. Fewer Found Media-ites have the support to report in the name of social justice, or to expose wrongdoing—the two best aspects of traditional journalism. Will Lost Media’s methods of “making the world a better place”—reporting on ruinous working conditions or rooting out the dirty bank accounts of worthies-gone-wild—be left only to the lucky few? One hopes that the people looking so hard for the new economic models for this kind of journalism find them soon.
Still, somewhere there’s a young woman reading books written in the golden age of literary nonfiction, in a public park. When that young woman puts her book down, she may blog something honest or incisive about it—or, at the very least, attention-getting—that strangers will stumble upon and then fans may find. She is not yet worried about making a grown-up salary. After all, she can rest assured that she is part of Found Media, and moving forward on the continuum of the new, new, new journalism.