'Follow, Don't Lead' Nor Help The Kamikazes

Here is a bad way in which the news media industry is different than other industries: It rejects innovations from a sector that so ably aids other major industries and moreover has conditioned that sector to be reticent to it. This ignored sector is academia.

Consider how other major industries ably utilize academia: The innovative ideas of law professors are quickly put into practice by the legal industry. Innovative practices developed at medical schools are quickly adopted by the medical industry. The innovative ideas of finance professors (ideas such as hedge funds and derivatives) are readily adopted by the financial industry. Computer science professors’ work forms the bases of perhaps half of all companies in the computer industry. And innovative ideas developed at business schools are almost immediately adopted by businessmen and entrepreneurs.

But when was the last time you ever heard of a media company adopting an innovative idea created in a journalism school?

Do media companies need such help? Well, here’s Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz’s description:

    Imagine business that is steadily losing customers, shrinking its work force, cutting back on services and mistrusted by much of the public.

Most media company executives think they know everything that can be known abut media. That hubris is unfortunate when you also consider that, despite the overwhelming facts, most news media company CEOs deny that both the quality and usage of their core businesses are declining. They focus instead on their companies’ short-term returns on investments and stock prices.

Most journalism professors readily acknowledge that the quality and usage of traditional media are declining and they theorize how to reverse the declines or otherwise how to replace traditional media with some form of new media. But most news media executives don’t care about the pofes