Ben Huh (BSJ’99) — the CEO of Cheezburger, a man with his own Wikipedia page, and an alumnus of the Daily Northwestern — spoke on the future of journalism Tuesday. Huh was in Chicago for the invite-only conference Ordcamp.
NBN offers the rest of its coverage of Huh’s speech in the genre that made his fortune, the meme:
Huh began with an overview of journalism’s current situation. He said that though current journalism students would fight “head-on” against working journalists about ethics issues, “we should be celebrating this time.”
He then added a caveat:
He spoke well of a recent article by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myrhvold, which compared the rise of subscription-based online journalism to the rise of cable TV.
“The only newspaper I pay money to subscribe to is the Economist,” said Huh. “Their reporting is terrible, but it’s the analysis they provide” that makes their subscription worthwhile.
He went on to say that he doubted whether objective reporting could still be supported by a for-profit model:
Investigative, civically-inclined reporting was “broccoli,” said Huh, and without a captive audience for classified ads, newspapers would no longer be able to delude themselves into thinking their readers paid for it.
Huh concluded the predictive part of his speech there, answering questions about his past and Cheezburger’s history. He added one biographic note, though, about the meme, the very form in which he’s made his fortune:
Photos by Alex Zhu and Robinson Meyer / North by Northwestern