Usually, my Medill grad school listserve is filled with rants, tedious infighting, self-promotion... occasionally a sprinkle of worldly wisdom. This week they chilled out and got their humor on:
Q: How many Medill grads does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: What, exactly, was wrong with the old bulb? It always worked before.
A: None. As journalists our duty is merely to report that the light bulb is out and trust in an informed citizenry to make the necessary bulb change.
A: Several hundred. One to note that the bulb seems to be out, several to form a committee to determine whether the bulb is out and what to do if it is out, seventy to publicly doubt that the bulb is out at all, forty to say that now that the bulb is out, we should instead figure out how best to adapt to the reality of a new lightless paradigm, twelve to point out the existence of alternative light sources, one to do a maudlin profile piece on the guy who installed the original bulb, and the rest of us to insult each other over the listserv.
A. Only one to hold it in place. Then the world revolves around her.
A. None. There is no money in the budget for new light bulbs. You'll work in the dark and like it.
A. Five. A reporter to screw in the light bulb, an editor to tell him what he did wrong, a photographer to get a visual record of the event, a copy editor to figure out if it's "light bulb" or lightbulb," and an IMC grad to figure out how to "monetize" the content.
A: One (unpaid) intern to change the bulb, tweet, write a blog, shoot pics for the blog, shoot/edit/produce a video piece for youtube/cnn ireport, share all of the above on facebook via his iPhone while hoping that someone will "digg" and "like" it.
700 other bloggers will link to this content and comment on it: "You see how he screwed in the bulb with his left hand! He's a SOCIALIST just like all journalists!."
2 million people will read the combined "coverage."
Zero copy editors will be employed in the process.
And no one at any point in that chain will make any money for the effort except for the light bulb manufacturer who has had no economic incentive to develop a better, longer-lasting light bulb since roughly the time of Edison.
The intern will get "great experience" for a non-existent job in new journalism.
A. One to screw it in not quite correctly…. and one instructor to give the Medill “F.”
A. None. They did away with bulbs at Medill as part of the 2020 plan. Now they use LEDs.
A. They outsourced the job to University of Missouri grads, who turned out to have some pretty dim bulbs.