Zombie Journalism: A look at journalism’s dead technology (Ghostbusters Edition)

By: Robert McLean

Technology in the journalism world can be a fickle business. New tools are launching all the time, with Twitter’s Vine video app among the latest creations.

While some tools are mandatory for tech-savvy journalists, others launch big and die horribly. We’ve culled the graveyard of technology’s past for three tools journalists used that have bit the dust.

Note: Going with the “dead” theme of this post, each entry has a Ghostbusters reference.


Egon Spengler said it best: “Print is dead.” That was never more the case than in 2013. Newspapers have had major layoffs and shut down completely. Entire websites have devoted to the topic, like Newspaperdeathwatch.com and Paper Cuts.

Yet some still have hope. Famed investor Warren Buffet recently bought the Tulsa World and Greensboro News & Record, according to the Poynter Institute.

Will print rise from the dead, even with tablet and smartphone users everywhere you look? Only time will tell.

Flip Video

This mini camcorder was so popular, Oprah Winfry used the tool to give her audience a back-stage pass to her show. Even Katie Couric used the camera to give a behind-the-scenes tour of the White House, according to the Huffington Post.

However, the tech was short lived. The New York Times reported in April 2011 that Cysco Systems shut down its Flip Video division.

It may have been short lived, but it was much more advanced than the camcorder Ray Stantz was lugging around in the New York Public Library.

Google Buzz

Remember when Google’s answer to Twitter was hyped all over the internet? According to Mashable, Google Buzz was first demo’ed in 2010. The company finally shut down the service in 2011, according to a Mashable article, to focus on Google+.

The social platform’s year of activity wasn’t without drama. The New York Times reported on Valentine’s Day, 2010 that Google issued an apology after users became concerned over privacy.

In the words of Peter Venkman, “Valentine’s Day – bummer.”

Rob McLean is a Digital Managing Editor with Hearst Television. He has been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists since 2010 and a member of the Online News Association since 2012. Interact on Twitter: @robertmclean.


Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the public’s right to know — either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.


Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Instagram Pinterest Pinterest LinkedIn

© Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ