The new, Benedictine monks of journalism

Since the invention of the printed press back in 1452, books and newspapers became the best vehicles for earning knowledge and information.

Before the 10th century, when humanity still didn’t imagine the usefulness of the formidable novelty that later came as newspapers, books were made by manual writing.

And, in that task, it was the intellectual or Benedictine monks who were in charge of putting together, ordering and writing the results of those teachings and investigations about the most enlightened.

A long-devoted reader, friend of mine, reminded me of an anecdote about a famous Benedictine monk who one day heard that a device or machine that printed letters had been invented and thus then thought that their business had come to an end.

At 75 years of age, most of them were still working on the copyist job, then the monk reflected: The only thing we really do is copy books. My only alternatives are to either retire or learn the new method. And he opted for the latter.

This same moral applies for traditional journalists. Now that a technological revolution puts us on the path and challenge of assuming the now optimal journalistic model that is the entire digital ecosystem, we must accept that such relevance is here to stay.

Naturally, under this sudden revolution, the effort towards the “digital first” mentality should make us the new Benedictine monks of journalism, who back then were forced to reinvent their profession and continued to contribute the best from the “scriptorium”, in this case that is the printed press, the source of quality, depth and truthfulness, simply an insurmountable instrument for the vision of the democratization of societies.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.