“Tools for the future of journalism.” Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, 2013.

Barbie Zelizer

The future of journalism seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. A Google search produces over seven million hits for the term ‘future of journalism’, alongside links to conferences, roundtables, blogs, books and websites on the topic […] but addressing the future of anything requires a degree of redress to the other temporalities that neighbor it – the present and past. As George Orwell reminded us long ago, those who control the past control the future. What is less known is that he also said that those who control the present control the past. And that temporal interdependence […] directly influences how we think about journalism. […] What I will argue is this: misunderstanding journalism’s many pasts and an unwillingness to account for the deficiencies in its many presents undermine our capacity to discern what may lie ahead. There is, then, a need to more fully develop our self-knowledge about what journalism has been, is today, and could be tomorrow. One way of accomplishing this is to develop tools for journalism’s future that take into account what we have erroneously fore-fronted in our discussions of how it works.

Published in Volume 34, Issue 2, pages 142–152