Sunday, March 19, 2006

playing grown up

I think of DC as a town filled with people playing grown up. Occasionally, it's almost literal: kids just out of college wearing cheap, ill-fitting suits that make them look like they just came down from the attic after a game of "dress up". They don't want to break the rules. The people that come here to DC have a belief in "the system"; it has worked for them (whether it's because they were born into privilege or because they figured out how to manipulate it) and now they want to work for it. It is a broader group than the kids that come to town to march up to the Hill and make photocopies. It's all around you. Even the little lefties that sign up to work for the well-meaning nonprofits and PAC's believe in the system. They might reject the current administration, but they think it's worth their time to try to change it and to put in someone "better". And they aim to change it according to the rules of those who have come before them.

Apparently it's not just DC. Apparently, I have been deluding myself into thinking that generational change will make so much of what is considered to be "new"
today in the media (and trendy and, therefore, easy for the old folks to ignore) commonplace once we can remove the carcasses that block the doorways.

But, alas, perhaps I was being overly optimistic.

Paul Conley, via Jeff Jarvis, shares a less than hopeful tale of today's journalism students, after a visit to a college media conference.

"Teachers told me over and over again that their students were adamantly opposed to converging news operations at their schools. The print kids don't like the TV kids; the Web kids don't like the print kids, etc. The 'cultures' don't mix, so the products don't mix and the students don't develop multimedia skills. Remarkably, as one teacher pointed out, few print students actually 'lived' in the world of old media. They all owned iPods. They snap photos with cell phones, communicate with Instant Messenger and join social-networking sites. Yet they expect to work in some sort of old-fashioned land of ink and paper."

Jarvis thinks it's time for people to "tear up their business cards" because "all media are new today."

I couldn't agree more.

But when you look around, with the "old" being pushed and prioritized, it's no wonder that the kiddies are prioritizing it as well. They have the ideas and they have the know-how, but the people in charge have yet to validate what they know and so the young ones don't even realize that they are the experts. And too many of them think that the only way to get ahead is to play by the rules, versus making their own.

1 comment:

kristen said...

very interesting comment.