An interview with Mike Fancher, author of Re-Imagining Journalism: Local News for a Networked World
Across the field of journalism we’ve had an “information infusion” from a broad range of sources over the summer. Analysis, review and reporting from the likes of PEW, Knight, the Economist, Clay Shirky, the FCC’s recent 450+ page report furthering the analysis Knight Foundation started two years ago, and CJR’s recent write up “What We Know so Far.” The Chicago Community Trust has released a mother lode of data revealing new insights on the power of linking. The list outlined above is far from exhaustive but a good representation of the depth, breadth and focus on the unfolding of a “news industry interrupted” by some of the brightest minds today.
There is a general consensus that we’re bearing witness to a long-standing community of practice “reimagining” itself, a phrase Mike Fancher refers to in his new report, Local News for a Networked World. Posted in July, this paper was co-commissioned by the Aspen Institute and the Knight Foundation. As a veteran newsman and community advocate, Fancher brings a unique perspective to this work with a long run as executive editor of one of the finest city paper newsrooms in the nation, The Seattle Times. Noting his career as an editor unfolded ina far less turbulent time in the business lifecycle of news and reporting Fancher retired from the Times in 2008.
The combination of professional experiences Fancher has accrued over the course of his career has expanded further since his retirement. In 2008-2009 he served as a Fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri focusing his study there on journalism ethics evolution in the digital age. Prior to returning to the academy as a fellow, while serving as a city paper editor, Fancher completed his master’s degree in business to better understand news, journalism and the marketplace it lives within, in context.
Local News for a Networked World has been released as a white paper, but at 71 pages, Fancher describes the work as more of a policy paper. The list of resources offers 143 citations—a fantastic side dish all on its own! With this much depth, thought and potential to further the observations and recommendation Fancher details in the paper, the JA thought an interview to distill down some of the key points by the author might be useful to our community.
This interview was conducted by phone with Mike Fancher on July 22, 2011