New York Times’ John Schwartz: Journalism is alive and well


Michelle Toussaint

John Schwartz, UT alumnus and national correspondent for The New York Times, gives a talk at Belo Center for New Media on Monday. Schwartz believes the survival of journalism depends on journalists’ ability to adapt to the digital revolution.

Christina Breitbeil

The field of journalism is not dwindling because of the digitalization of media but is instead adapting and thriving, according to John Schwartz, UT alumnus and national correspondent for The New York Times.

Schwartz spoke at Belo Center for New Media on Monday about the current state of journalism and the “chaos” of the changes that accompany the consistent introduction of new technology.

According to Schwartz, the change is demonstrated by which New York Times story attracted the most readers this year: “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk,” which was not a typical “narrative” story but an interactive graphic. Schwartz also said he has become a part of the digital transition by creating web features, writing blog posts and tweeting out quotes.

“All of it was journalism,” said Schwartz, who served as editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan in the 1980s.  “All of it deepens the story. There’s a mini renaissance going on. I’m the generation that has to give way to the people who know how to do data visualization, and that’s fine. … It’s up to us to reinvent journalism.”

The survival of journalism depends on journalists’ ability to adapt, Schwartz said. Glenn Frankel, journalism professor and director of the school of journalism, who introduced Schwartz at the lecture, said it is a time of transition for journalism, and those involved must learn to change their methods accordingly.

“This is such a dynamic, fluid time,” Frankel said. “The digital revolution has changed almost everything about journalism. … It’s both an exciting and scary time. … I do think that young journalists — all journalists — need to develop a curious and inquisitive sensibility about the new media and about how to use the new media to tell stories.”

Sidrah Syed, communication science and disorders freshman who attended Schwartz’s lecture, said she can understand how the change within the field of journalism can fill the public demand for accessible information.

“I was editor-in-chief [of the school newspaper] in high school, so stuff in print is valuable to me,” Syed said. “I think it’s becoming a lost art, but I also think it’s great that we’re using so many new techniques and technologies to get stories across to people, because that’s what I think news is supposed to be — tangible to everyone.”