Does “instant journalism” breed “illiterate mush”?
Nicholas Carr reflecting on Andy Abramson’s “The New Instant Journalism”:
I've found that most things that are "instant" are inherently good. Like instant soup and instant coffee, for instance. They don't taste like much, but they're really quick to prepare. You boil some water, pour it into a cup - preferably styrofoam - and bingo! you're out the door and on your way. So "Instant Journalism" seemed like a concept that I could resonate to. In today's fast-paced, always-on world, who needs taste?
Coincidentaly, Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin Food Products Co., is reported to have died in Japan at the ripe old age of 96. Ando is often labeled “inventor of instant noodles”; He developed Cup Noodle in 1971 to “provide cheap food for the masses,” according to BBC News:
Its taste and ease of preparation, adding hot water to dried noodles in a waterproof polystyrene container, have made it popular around the world.
Ando is said to have remained active until just days before his death, giving a New Year's speech to Nissin employees and having a lunch of Chicken Ramen with company executives. Some might consider the Nissin “instant” Ramen “mush,” but it apparently supported a long and lucrative life for its creator.
What about instant journalistic “mush” Carr suggests may be “a glimpse of journalism's final resting place”:
What I had thought were signs of a broken educational system - the seemingly random placement of commas, the spastic syntax, the obnoxious overuse of quotation marks, the goofy misspelling of "Jouralism" - were actually signs of the New Instantaneousness. "Instant Jouralists" cannot be concerned with punctuation and grammar and spelling. That stuff just "slows you down.
Carr’s “eulogy” for “proper” written use of the English language undoubtedly targets more than “instant journalism.”
I have served as Adjunct Professor of both Information Systems and Marketing Communications at several universities in New York City and can attest to the impending “death” of proper English, properly written.
In today’s politically correct academic environment, professors are often hesitant to “correct” students’ grammar.
Perhaps Carr’s entertaining call for greater attention to the mechanics of writing will result in more literate “instant journalism.”
Abramson has already taken note and made the necessary corrections.