Last weekend, a bunch of journalists met up at this year's News Foo conference in Arizona to discuss, among other things, what to do in the event of an apocalypse. Of course, attendees also talked about predictable topics like advertising, Internet websites and pretty much everything else related to the future of the news. New York Times media columnist David Carr attended the event at the Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and in a Tuesday afternoon blog post, he points to a comprehensive recap of the conversation on fellow attendee Andrew Fitzgerald's blog. The debate focused on two Armageddon scenarios: a worldwide flu epidemic (frighteningly likely) and an alien invasion (hopefully unlikely). All joking about "Zlorg the alien lord" aside, Carr's careful to point out how a whimsical conversation about covering the end of the world is really a conversation about the enduring tenets journalism as an institution:
But whether journalists would continue to be finders of fact or freedom fighters — the old objectivity versus truth fight again — everyone in the room agreed that the final conflict would a great time for really good service journalism, that is, how best not to get your guts pulled out and devoured by aliens, or, if available, using something like Google's Global Flu Trends to track any ensuing pandemic.
Inevitably, Carr says the group concluded that ham radio was "the more durable and rugged platform" on which to broadcast the apocalypse. Your weird uncle Donald who actually still owns a ham radio will be thrilled to hear this.