BostInno: The Future of News?

Streetwise Media is hiring.

Its CEO and co-founder, Chase Garbarino, spoke to my Reinventing the News class on Wednesday about his company and news sites, BostInno and InTheCapital in Boston and Washington D.C. respectively.

Garbarino is seeking full-time, paid reporters for both websites and has two more similar news outlets in the works for New York City and Chicago.

In journalism growth of any kind, but especially in the form of new jobs, is certainly encouraging. Garbarino said BostInno receives millions of page views each month.

Streetwise Media is clearly trying to secure a spot in journalism as the field changes rapidly along with technology. I don’t think anyone truly knows what the future of news is, so BostInno could be it.

The website covers a lot, quickly, with very few people. Lauren Landry, higher education reporter for BostInno, said she writes about 30 stories per week. Reporters work mostly on short online postings, and the establishment of the website in Boston, already a relatively crowded city for media, is impressive.

Though in several ways the work of Streetwise Media is encouraging for the future of journalism, I think one characteristic of the site represents the wrong direction for the field.

Garbarino briefly mentioned that no reporting is truly objective. I agree that it’s impossible for a reporter to not have a perspective on an issue that directs his or her questioning.

Stories on BostInno, Garbarino said, and Streetwise Media’s other sites, aim to be more Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert than the Boston Globe. It’s still news, but with more open inclusion of the writer’s opinion.

This style of forthright subjectivity is the future of news, according to Garbarino. It’s the one major aspect of BostInno that I disagree with. I agree there should be more of this type of reporting, and it certainly is interesting.

But I’m not ready to accept that there will be no place for long-form objective storytelling in journalism. Start-up, local news websites like BostInno will grow and take a larger share of the media landscape. Still I think in the long-term, these sites can co-exist with practitioners of old objective journalism.

Perhaps I’m unfairly interpreting Garbarino’s message in a manner that’s too black-and-white. The future of news definitely is not that clear, and BostInno is still developing.

As it expands, it will be interesting to see how Streetwise Media changes. When it adds reporters, perhaps BostInno will include more long objective stories mixed-in with short postings. As a young journalism student, I hope so.

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