Thinking about our so-called information society, and the future of academic libraries, two items in particular caught my eye yesterday. Perhaps they caught yours too.
First, the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced yesterday. The New York Times won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, one for its reporting on Africa and another for an investigative series on obscure tax code provisions that allow wealthy corporations and citizens to avoid paying taxes. But as reporters, commentators and pundits are saying, the bigger surprise this year came from new media. Online news outlets The Huffington Post and Politico both won their first Pulitzer Prizes, a sign of the changing media landscape.
Personally, I am saddened by the lack of prizes in some categories. For example The Pulitzer Prize board did not name a winner in the editorial writing category and, as a second example, notably declined to name a winner in the coveted fiction category for the first time in 35 years.
I mentioned that two items in particular caught my eye yesterday. The second item has nothing to do with an award - - well, at least a current award. It concerns a question - - "Watergate 4.0: How Would the Story Unfold in the Digital Age?" Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein gave their assessment at the annual American Society of News Editors conference this month by referring to how Yale students answer a similar question assigned in an advanced journalism class.
So think about it - - before ‘Watergate’ could be Googled . . . . And? What do you think today’s Yale students thought? Listen up.
“Mr. Woodward said he was shocked by how otherwise savvy students thought technology would have changed everything. ‘I came as close as I ever have to having an aneurysm,’ he said, "because the students wrote that, 'Oh, you would just use the Internet" and the details of the scandal would be there. The students imagined, as Mr. Woodward put it, ‘that somehow the Internet was a magic lantern that lit up all events.’" (http://0-search.proquest.com.libcat.uncw.edu/wallstreetjournal/docview/1000397580/fulltext/13625CCB707470B5779/1?accountid=14606) (accessed 17 April 2012)
When the esteemed Pulitzer Prize goes to online news outlets, and Yale students appear to think that ‘Watergate’ could now be reported without actual reporting, well, the changing media landscape changing is evidence of so much more, all of it with powerful implications for academic libraries.