Last night I joined a lecture on the future of journalism by Professor Robert S. Boynton from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute (part of New York University). He is a prolific writer and has published from the leading magazines and newspapers in the US, including the New York Times, New Yorker magazine, The Atlantic Monthly. In addition, he has recently been active in online and multimedia publications.
I happened to have met Robert a couple of weeks earlier at a party, without realizing that he was the Robert Boynton whose articles I have read over years. Just before the pre-lecture dinner, he found me in the crowd and came to my table to say Hi. I was glad that he remembered me (he had a marvellous memory and remembered the details of our conversation and that we drunk sake together). So I apologized to him that I had not realized at the party that he was the author of the articles I read in the New Yorker magazine, etc. After hearing this, he was still smiling, so friendly and modest. We had some chat before the dinner.
Robert's lecture was held as a part of the Journalism Program series for members at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ). For the advertisement of this event, visit the following website:
From the title of Boynton's lecture "Trends in Magazine Journalism", I was expecting to hear nitty-gritty reality of journalism and the publication industry, as many previous lecturers at FCCJ's journalism program talked about it -- decaying (or even death) of pulp publication and the rapid shrinkage of the industry.
The message of Robert's lecture was, however, quite different from what I expected. It was more about "transformation of journalism and industry: a review and a look forward". As long as journalists, writers, and other wordsmiths/photographers transform themselves to fit into the future (rather than current) trends, there is a significant chance of not only surviving, but also thriving for each of us.
Examples of Robert Boynton's activities as a "transformational journalist" include the new publication method at byliner.com. For details, visit the following website:
The lecture was followed by a Q & A session. As expected, many of the questions were about what Robert Boynton expect each sector of the publication industry (from major magazines/newspapers/TVs to local papers, job perspectives of new journalism-major graduates in the US, etc.) in a few years. It was riveting and useful to me, whereas some of the older people in the audience were still having a difficulty in accepting this new trend in journalism.
After this event was over, some of the participants had some drinks with Robert. Just like the last time we met, he was exceptionally friendly, funny and was courteous to everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed attending Robert's lecture and meeting with him. Thank you, Robert!
Posted on Thursday 10 May 2012