Remember the documentary Man on Wire, in which French tightrope walker Philippe Petit scales one of the twin towers, stretches a rope between the two towers and walks from one to another? According to broadcaster Jon Snow, this is what today's journalistic landscape is like.
He told the Association of Journalism Educators: "We've just got to the top of the first tower, we're blogging and everything like mad and having a great time but where do we go from here?"
Good question. No-one knows. Snow's argument is that we'll only get to the other tower when we discover how to make online journalism pay (or how to "monetise" in the horrible jargon). But meanwhile, we're encountering journalism which is "an infinitely more intricate and democratic process than when we started - and it's going to change the world." Snow's enthusiasm for new media- " I blog three or four times a day and twitter endlessly" - is exciting,, although it contradicts one of my PhD hypotheses that older journalists are more likely to scorn new media.
Snow's talk was another reminder that it's not going to be easy doing a PhD in an area where the sands are shifting so constantly. How do you avoid producing results which are at best confirming what everyone has known for ages because the process of research and getting published takes so long?