Sunday, February 1, 2009

journalism deathwatch

What will become of journalism if smart and talented young people can no longer afford to enter the profession? Go here to read an insightful blogpost written by Alice Joy, one of my former students, who makes several excellent points about what it means to be a young "working journalist" in New York these days.

Scary and sad.

On it goes. I had another email from a former student with excellent full-time cred in both daily journalism and alt-weekly investigative reporting. Now on staff at another paper, what he does, he says, is twitter to promote the paper's articles. What a waste of talent and drive.

And Shannon forwards this piece from LA Observed, that reports that the LA Times will kill the California section, folding local news inside the front section of the paper, "... which will be reconfigured to downplay national and foreign news — despite what an official of the paper confirmed for me was the unanimous and vocal objections of senior editors."

Who cares whether print stays or goes. Who cares whether we add Suzy from Ohio to our blog/follow list. Who cares if you have become the Pied Piper to a cast of thousands who follow your every move on Twitter. To paraphrase that old Clinton-era campaign slogan, "It's the content, stupid." And we need professionals to find it, contextualize it, and to be paid a living wage to report it.

I am reminded of an old quote from a NYTimes piece written by Walter Cronkite (okay, that dates me) that I saved when i first started teaching: "It is the content that is important and the Republic, indeed no society, cannot live without that which only the newspaper provides -- the daily recording of our history and the presentation to the people of the facts on which they can meaningfully participate in this democracy."

Substitute “journalism" for "newspaper". Doesn't anybody get that anymore? bk

P.S. By the way, if you are in the market for a talented, energetic reporter and elegant writer, and can actually offer a paycheck -- go ask Alice.

No comments: