Great because the techies in Silicon Valley are giving us powerful new tools for telling stories. Scary because the old ways of telling stories are about to become obsolete, and if we cling to them, we'll be washed away. In the past we've all worked in silos. "Print people" had one way of describing the world. "Video people" had another. But the silos are getting crunched together. It's as if for most of your life you could get by speaking only English, but now you need to learn a bunch of other old languages, and, what's more, you must then master a new language that is evolving out of the DNA of all the old ones.What's scary is when actual journalists surrender so willingly to the notion that improved media technology necessarily entails more advanced values. Actually, I have a friend who does make this case when it comes to medical IT, and I'll stipulate that. My greater concern is for a well-informed public in a complex republic. If it hinges on the Hackosphere as currently constituted, no matter how cool-looking the devices, that we're in big trouble.
The way the most diligent "print people" have of doing their job is called journalism. You interview people in the know, investigate what's going on behind the scenes or under the rug, take your sweet time, and do your best to keep your own ego and preferences our of your copy. "Video people" usually read what print people report, make a few calls of their own, and videotape an interview or two. "Blog people" by and large sit in Starbucks and aggregate and comment on what everyone else is reporting. The shape and size of computer displays don't alter the indispensability of good reporting and well-written, longer-form texts.