What is the difference between TV, radio, and newspapers?

Eventually, the gathering of basic documentary evidence won't be, in and of itself, a special act of citizen journalism. It will just be routine. With lots of eyes and ears on the ground, and a network to connect them, everyone -- first responders, journalists, and citizens alike -- will cope better with crises. [Full story at InfoWorld.com]

In an item related to this week's column, I wrote about a breakthrough moment: a cross-disciplinary and cross-medium collaboration between a citizen blogger and a public radio journalist. My friend Larry Welkowitz, whom I've inducted into the blogging/podcasting club, said:

If I heard about your screencast on the radio, and if I read about it online, then what's the difference anymore between radio, television, and newspapers? It's all audio, video, and text.

Clearly there is no essential difference, yet somehow I hadn't thought about it in quite that way. Yes, the methods of content delivery are merging into a single stream. But more profoundly for people working in the various media professions, three formerly distinct skill sets are coming together. It's true that radio and TV people have always had to be competent writers, but print folk have not traditionally had to be competent editors of audio and video, or competent performers.

Becoming those things in mid-career is a challenge, as I can attest. For me it's been an enjoyable challenge, but for some -- perhaps many -- it won't be. What about the up-and-coming generation of journalists? They're surely more trilingual than their teachers but, from from what I hear, most college curricula in these fields remain pretty much siloed. If that's true, it's not good news.

Update: According to journalism instructor Mark Hamilton, generation Z may not be helping matters much either:

In my experience, as much as the journalism school I teach at is siloed and as conservative as most newsrooms, the students are siloed. They're still caught up in old media models, too. [Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media]

See also: The New Freshman Comp

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2005/10/21.html#a1326