Steve Buttry’s Case for Digital Journalism

By Zachary Gray

For over forty years, Steve Buttry has been in the news business as a journalist, writer, editor, and reporter. Buttry learned the old-school techniques and styles of journalism, but makes a case for digital journalism in a recent post on The Buttry Diary. Titled “Dear Newsroom Curmudgeon,” Buttry lists seven reasons for why journalist resist digital journalism. With each reason, Buttry breaks down the flaws in every excuse to not leap into the digital world.

The seven reasons journalists resist are: quality, you love writing, confidence, you don’t have the time, you don’t like Twitter, ethics, and age. Buttry explains that the old-school journalists believe print journalism is of high quality, and digital journalism has flaws. But history has shown that not all print journalism is perfect.

Many journalists resist digital journalism because they love to write, feel they don’t have the time, or even feel as if they are too old. Buttry’s response is to simply suck it up. The Director of Community Engagement & Social Media for Digital First Media and Journal Register Co. explains that digital journalism has improved his editing skills, in essence made him a better writer. Time wise, it’s exactly the same; there’s no difference from taking notes at an event to live blogging. As for age, Buttry’s response is simple: “bullshit.” At 57-years-old, Buttry says using digital journalism actually energizes him.

Buttry’s letter, in my opinion, is spot on. Too many “old-school” journalists complain about digital journalism and its “flaws.” yet many of them have yet to use digital journalism. The fact is simple: digital journalism is the future. The experience in standard journalism is highly valued and will always be, but adaptation a necessity.


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