“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” ... Daniel Webster ...
These posts will reflect my personal opinions, and views, of the world in which we live from, of course, the viewpoint of a conservative "Southern American".
Friday, August 09, 2013
Journalism in a Digital World ... Alan Caruba
Journalism in a Digital World
early 1960s I started my professional life as a very young reporter for a
weekly newspaper. In a few months the editor left for a job with a daily and I
became the editor. It was the kind of on-the-job learning curve that was not
uncommon. I had never taken a single course in journalism and what I knew of
journalism was largely gleaned from reading newspapers.
memories of my father is the indelible image of his sitting in his favorite
chair by the fireplace reading The New York Times. That’s how he learned of
events and personalities in a pre-television world. In the 1950s TV had news
divisions, but they were rudimentary and no competition for print. Newspapers
had always played a role in the nation’s history, but they were often political
platforms with a considerable bias. Not much has changed in that respect.
have always been labor-intensive, depending heavily on the talents and skills
of reporters and editors. There are really no substitutes and, as a result,
journalism as a business is more costly than other enterprises that can replace
workers with machines. As the digital transformation of the Internet began to
undermine the habit of reading newspapers, newspapers began to cut costs by
closing foreign bureaus and laying off staff as advertising revenue—particularly
classifieds—moved to websites like CraigsList; the print editions shrunk.
It is a
rule that new technology replaces old technology. Those of us that relish the
feel of a newspaper in our hands will likely still subscribe to one of our
choice. I read The Wall Street Journal in the same way my father read The New
York Times. Local daily newspapers will still provide local news, but with
reduced staff and a reliance on “stringers”, freelancers, and syndicated news
services. City hall, the police beat and the courts will still have assigned
reporters. Sports news increasingly dominates local dailies.
another factor and that is a new generation that gets its news from the
Internet having lost or never having had the habit of reading a print edition
newspaper, but the flip side of that is that without newspapers there would be
little fresh news content. The Drudge Report is a news aggregator. It does not
break news of its own creation.
newspapers are being purchased by those made wealthy from digital enterprises
like Amazon.com or sports franchises such as baseball. This past week, Jeff
Bezos purchased The Washington Post and Boston Red Sox owner, John Henry,
purchased The Boston Globe, both shed by their parent companies because they
were a drag on the larger enterprises that owned them. For their new owners
they will become useful megaphones within their zones of influence.
is that, for reporters and editors, even a job with a major daily newspaper was
never the road to wealth though there was and is much ego satisfaction to be
had in a byline or a widely syndicated column. The names of some journalists
have entered into the cultural history of the nation such as H.L. Mencken,
Walter Lippmann, and the Watergate team of Woodward and Bernstein.
old journalists the personal blog has become a way to exercise hard-earned
skills. Many former journalists—myself included—seeking a better income got
into public relations. Much of what you read and hear is the work of PR
professionals and without them the news industry could barely exist today.
Reporters are dependent on the flow of information they provide and government
at every level from local to national employs PR professionals to shape the
news it provides. Just about every other enterprise does the same. The best PR
is news based on journalistic standards. Who needs PR? Everyone.
powerful is the news? Powerful enough for the current administration to seize
the phone records of Associated Press reporters and to lie to a judge to allege
that Fox News reporter, James Rosen, was possibly engaged in criminal behavior
as he went about the most elemental aspects of gathering news. By contrast the
daily White House news conference has become a pathetic kabuki dance of lies in
which very real scandals are called “phony.”
condemnation of newspapers today is to compare the coverage that revealed the
Watergate scandal in the 1970s and led to Nixon’s resignation with the growing
list of Obama administration scandals that have not resulted in serious
print or digital, the news is delivered is not what matters here. It is the
fact that a republic depends on the free flow of news from as many sources as
possible. When the government starts to threaten or jail reporters, freedom is
Alan Caruba's commentaries are posted daily at "Warning Signs" and shared on dozens
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