exclusives | September 16, 2015

First Look: John Stackhouse’s New Book, Mass Disruption

Former Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief John Stackhouse has a new book arriving this October 27th, called Mass Disruption: Thirty Years on the Front Lines of a Media Revolution. As the title suggests, this new work chronicles the immense challenges that traditional news media has faced (and still faces) in the digital era. Filled with stories, lessons, and warnings from Stackhouse’s three decades in the industry, Mass Disruption is a first-hand report on the changing state of journalism from one of our finest correspondents.

Beyond the world of journalism, it’s also an illuminating read for anyone forced to embrace sweeping professional change, digital or otherwise. Unsurprisingly, Stackhouse is witness to, and champion of, adapting to new technologies, policies, markets, and sales techniques. In the video clip above, Stackhouse exhorts leaders to never rest on laurels or convention—or risk irrelevancy. “You may think that newsrooms and journalists love change,” he says. “But I’ve got news for you—there aren’t many more change-resistant people in this world that I’ve met than journalists … But don’t put [change] off to tomorrow. Don’t put it off to next year. Take it on now, and put it in the middle of everything you do.”

Mass Disruption is a work for all those who want to understand the news, from the editor of “Canada’s newspaper” at one of the most turbulent moments in its history. From the publisher:

Drawing on his 30 years in newspapers, the former editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail examines the crisis of serious journalism in the digital era, and searches for ways the invaluable tradition can thrive in a radically changed future.

Filled with stories from his three decades in the business, Mass Disruption tracks decisions good and bad, examines how some of the world's major newspapers—The Guardian, The New York Times—are learning to cope, and lays out strategies for the future, of both newspapers and serious journalism, wherever it may live.

John Stackhouse entered the newspaper business in a golden age: 1980s circulations were huge and wealthy companies lined up for the privilege of advertising in every city’s best-read pages. Television and radio could never rival newspapers for hard news, analysis, and opinion, and the papers’ brand of serious journalism was considered a crucial part of life in a democratic country. Then came the Internet ...

Beginning in 2009, as The Globe and Mail’s editor-in-chief, Stackhouse faced the unthinkable: the possible end of not just Canada’s “national” newspaper, but the steep and steady financial decline of newspapers everywhere. A non-stop torrent of free digital content stole advertisers and devalued advertising space so quickly that newspapers struggled to finance the serious journalism that distinguished them in a world of Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Yahoo, and innumerable bloggers and citizen journalists. Meanwhile, ambitious online media aspired to the credibility of newspapers. 

Having led The Globe during this period of sudden and radical change, Stackhouse continues to champion the vital role of great reporting and analysis. 

To book John Stackhouse as the keynote speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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