Gersh Kuntzman, a standout community editor, was running with a Flip before Al Gore invented the internet (I exaggerate, but so does Gersh — usually to good effect). Any reporter who completes the Graduate School of Journalism that he runs at The Brooklyn Paper can swim with confidence in the uncharted waters of New Media.
Gersh knows that media in the future will not mirror media’s past, and that journalists must adapt or die.
He was my editor when I sold The Brooklyn Paper to a division of NewsCorp in 2009, and he’s continued under the new management to good effect.
Here’s a double scoop sampler, fresh this week, of video a la Gersh —
Want more? Here’s Gersh taking a dump for a story, covering snow on a budget; riding a new bike lane, and immodestly accepting the SNA’s Editor of the Year award (start video around 1:17).
Meanwhile, video is just one part of Gersh’s exposition. He’ll rarely pass up an opportunity to personalize a news story (for example, inserting caffeine suppositories; reporting each of the many times his bicycles were stolen, and covering the night he posed nude for an art class of hipsters).
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Gersh would not suggest that he has all of the solutions to Old Media’s woes, and it’s not clear that his formula will pay off in the long run.
But the old prescriptions will no longer work: Readers won’t take the medicine old-line editors would like to continuing doling out, and staff-short newspapers will be unable to fill them in any event.
If newspapers are going to survive in print or online, they’ll need to adapt to the kind playful experimentation that Gersh can’t suppress.
UPDATE: Click to link to followup.