John King Interview…

The University of North Florida student blog The Spinnaker has in interview with John King conducted by Joseph Basco…

Let’s talk about yourself and journalism. How do you feel, with the Internet and TV co-existing, what is the best medium to convey news?

King: It’s a very different business. I started as a print reporter right out of college. I worked at my student newspaper back in the 1980s — you weren’t alive. And the businesses changed dramatically. I was a print guy for 12 years; I’ve been in television for 14 years. The business is evolving with the technology; however, there are times when the business is struggling. Newspapers are struggling. Some newsmagazines are struggling, even the broadcast medium. You can’t have appointment television. You can’t tell somebody you have to watch John King at 6 every night, especially somebody younger because they know they can either TiVO it, they can go online and watch the pieces they want, they can go to Hulu. There are so many places. There’s so many ways to get the news when you want it, how you want it, in the form you want it, that the whole appointment television model is in trouble right now. But, the thirst for information is greater than ever. So the business just has to learn to adapt. That’s why you see The New York Times newspapers are in trouble. The New York Times now has one of the world’s best websites. I think CNN’s is the best, but if you look at it, they have video up, they have pictures up. It used to be the old gray lady. It was a boring newspaper. Look at the Wall Street Journal and how it has changed in the last few years. So the businesses were stubborn, everybody is stubborn. These changes are happening in a business. Everybody said: “No, we are going to keep doing this the way we have always done it.” Well, then you realize, if you keep doing the way you have always done it, you will be out of business pretty soon. So everyone is adapting and changing. And look, are there some things that are on the Internet that I don’t consider journalism? Are there some people who say they are news sites that don’t follow the rules that I was trained by? Of course there are, but they have the same First Amendment right to free speech as I do. So you can’t fight it. The genie is out of the bottle with the technology, so you just have to do your job the best that you can and trust in the common sense of the consumer that they will eventually pick a good product. And they will figure it out after time — who is objective and who’s not. If they want to watch opinion journalism, advocacy journalism that’s fine. That’s good, that’s a part of the process, and it’s part of the pie. And you just have to do your job the way you define your mission, and have faith that if you do a good job you will be rewarded by people who want to watch or read or listen.

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