I didn’t know it at the time but my tumblr journey as atomized hack started about five years ago. I was asked to make a speech about the future of journalism for the Walkley Foundation, an organisation set up to further the causes of the fourth estate.
The future of journalism: an unwieldy and unforgiving subject, for sure. But then Rambo saved me. More precisely, I recalled a red wine infused chat late one Sunday Age deadline night with Andrew Rule, a truly awesome reporter and a fine human being.
Musing about what the ‘kids’ needed to know now to be a good journo, Andrew reckoned they had to have the skills to “go out and catch their own”. Like Rambo in the jungle, I said: tooled with a vast array of weaponry, independent, fearless — and willing to knock over one catch at a time, giving full (and in Rambo’s case, final) meaning to each moment.
Thus, a couple of years later, I made my Rambo/Rambette speech. Granted, it is not the most sophisticated approach to the subject — and now seems dated.
It is certainly not as beautiful as, say, quartz and its obsessions, or as far-reaching as the work on ‘fluid journalism’ by Mark Deuze, from Indiana University, but it certainly helped me realise that a) the game had changed forever and b) we have to adapt or die.
Here’s a link to an edited version of the talk, Who Moved My Pyramid?, on the Mumbrella website.
A final point of emphasis: the speech was delivered in August 2010, that’s almost five years on from the date of this post.
We have come so far — and have so much left to do.