Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Save Newsprint Journalism?

I'd rather save the trees. And what journalism did they have in mind? We have so very little worthy of the name, at least of the mainstream sort. A report from The Columbia University School of Journalism argues, among other things, that local news outfits should be given non-profit tax status to keep them alive and running. I suppose that is a reasonable suggestion, we need to know about the quotidian events and happenings in our local communities, but as for the practice of journalism, or more properly, investigative reporting, well, some of the best reporting to be had can be found on the internet, via blogs (gasp) and such, and some of the worst reportage is available in mainstream outfits most of whom are stuck operating with worn out or discredited assumptions in the service of equally dead paradigms. Saving some of these outfits isn't just a waste of time, it's positively counter-productive.

But, as has been pointed out elsewhere, many of the purveyors of "old news" will be saved, not out of a sense of civic mindedness, but because MSM outfits provide such a wonderful front for the powers that be, spewing out party lines (green shoots anyone?) on command. Where else in the world, besides in some of your better totalitarian regimes, can you find the massive disconnect between the functioning of our capital markets and our economy be so under (and badly) reported on as it is in the U.S.A. So, thank you, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, etc, etc., but putative claims as to your indispensability are much like those made not long ago on behalf of the large Wall Street banks - yes, those same banks that desperately need you to not get to the bottom of their shady operations-highly questionable, if not utterly bogus.


DED said...

I blogged about this when a bill in the Senate sought to enable newspapers to go non-profit, provided that they adhered to non-partisan behavior. I don't know what became of it.

Edwardo said...

I think that presently it's being "debated" in the none too hallowed halls of Congress.