Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's black and white and read no more?

In the most recent issue of The Nation, we read a call for government to save democracy by rescuing journalism. It's a lengthy but very worthwhile read. Here's the gist of The Death and Life of American Newspapers:

"It is not just newspapers that are in crisis; it is the institution of journalism itself.

"By any measure, journalism is missing from most commercial radio. TV news operations have become celebrity- and weather-obsessed "profit centers" rather than the journalistic icons of the Murrow and Cronkite eras. Cable channels "fill the gap" with numberless pundits and "business reporters," who got everything about the last decade wrong but now complain that the government doesn't know how to set things right...

"Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States."

As Arie writes in her post on saving journalism: "There is no way citizen journalists can perform the work and get the information reporters from a major news network did."

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