Editor’s Note

News about an upcoming web series on digital journalism, "The Story So Far"
May 1, 2011

This is a full issue and, we hope you agree, a good one. we invite you to read every word, especially the cover story and especially, well, everything. You may notice, for example, an emerging sensibility in the Ideas + Reviews section in the back of the book. That’s because Justin Peters, our stellar Managing Editor/Web, has added it to his portfolio. It was Justin who asked Ted Rall to review Brooke Gladstone’s new graphic-novel-format manifesto on the media—in graphic-novel format. As Rall says, via a panel in his review on page 56, “Meta cool!” Also cool: Justin, Craig Silverman, and Joel Meares (twice!) are all finalists in this year’s Mirror Awards, to be given out by Syracuse University in June for the best media reporting.

Meanwhile, please watch for a major event on our website, CJR.org. On May 10, we’ll publish a ten-chapter report that addresses this key question: Can the commercial market support digitally based journalism in the US? Back in November, we published “The Reconstruction of American Journalism,” a report by Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson. That was a sweeping assessment of the direction of the news business in the face of economic and technical upheaval, with several public-policy recommendations.

This report, “The Story So Far: What we know about the business of digital journalism,” takes a different tack, focusing on the economic issues that for-profit news organizations—large and small, old and new—face with their digital ventures. It works through the ways that the great digital transformation has been disruptive to the business models of news media. It points out that the negative effects have been nearly immediate, while most of the positive ones—and there are some—usually take longer to develop.

“The Story So Far” was written by Bill Grueskin, the dean of academic affairs here at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the former deputy managing editor at The Wall Street Journal, where he also ran the paper’s online operation for six years; Ava Seave, a principal of Quantum Media, a consulting firm focused on marketing and strategic planning for media, information, and entertainment companies; and Lucas Graves, a Ph.D. candidate at the J-school.

The report is a project of the school’s new Tow Center for Digital Journalism. We believe it will advance the conversation about the future of news. You can read it here.

Speaking of digital: CJR is now available on Kindle, in Kindle’s clean and lovely format, at CJR.org/kindle.

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You can buy the current issue there for $3.99 or subscribe for 99 cents per month. And—drum roll, please—a full digital edition (including the art, photos, and all the trimmings) of the magazine you hold in your hands is now available via Zinio, at CJR.org/zinio. You can read it on your Mac or PC or iPad. It’s searchable, and you can highlight, bookmark, or save pages and articles, as well as share them with colleagues and friends.

By the way, with the approach of CJR’s fiftieth birthday, this is a great time to renew your subscription and to think about gift subscriptions for people who care about the future of the news. Some good things are coming; we’ll keep you posted. —Mike Hoyt

Mike Hoyt was CJR’s executive editor from 2001 to 2013, teaches at Columbia’s Journalism School and is the editor of The Big Roundtable, a startup that is a home for narrative writing.