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New media gonna tackle corruption? I don't think so.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Blitz, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    This just came from my boss.
    He and I routinely lament the state of our industry and I think this well-written piece sort of exemplifies the big problems with new media.
    Most of these bloggers and the like haven't got the stones to get out and tackle things like New Jersey corruption or other "big" issues.

    The Media Equation - Mourning Old Media’s Decline

    The news that Google settled two longstanding suits with book authors and publishers over its plans to digitize the world’s great libraries suggests that some level of détente could be reached between old media and new.
    If true, it can’t come soon enough for the news business.
    It’s been an especially rotten few days for people who type on deadline. On Tuesday, The Christian Science Monitor announced that, after a century, it would cease publishing a weekday paper. Time Inc., the Olympian home of Time magazine, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated, announced that it was cutting 600 jobs and reorganizing its staff. And Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, compounded the grimness by announcing it was laying off 10 percent of its work force — up to 3,000 people.
    Clearly, the sky is falling. The question now is how many people will be left to cover it.
    It goes on. The day before, the Tribune Company had declared that it would reduce the newsroom of The Los Angeles Times by 75 more people, leaving it approximately half the size it was just seven years ago.
    The Star-Ledger of Newark, the 15th-largest paper in the country, which was threatened with closing, will apparently survive, but only after it was announced that the editorial staff would be reduced by 40 percent.
    And two weeks ago, TV Guide, one of the famous brand names in magazines, was sold for one dollar, less than the price of a single copy.
    The paradox of all these announcements is that newspapers and magazines do not have an audience problem — newspaper Web sites are a vital source of news, and growing — but they do have a consumer problem.
    Stop and think about where you are reading this column. If you are one of the million or so people who are reading it in a newspaper that landed on your doorstop or that you picked up at the corner, you are in the minority. This same information is available to many more millions on this paper’s Web site, in RSS feeds, on hand-held devices, linked and summarized all over the Web.
    Historically, people took an interest in the daily paper about the time they bought a home. Now they are checking their BlackBerrys for alerts about mortgage rates. “The auto industry and the print industry have essentially the same problem,” said Clay Shirky, the author of “Here Comes Everybody.” “The older customers like the older products and the new customers like the new ones.”
    For readers, the drastic diminishment of print raises an obvious question: if more people are reading newspapers and magazines, why should we care whether they are printed on paper?
    New Jersey, a petri dish of corruption, will have to make do with 40 percent fewer reporters at The Star-Ledger, one of the few remaining cops on the beat. The Los Angeles Times, which toils under Hollywood’s nose, has one movie reviewer left on staff. And dozens of communities served by Gannett will have fewer reporters and editors overseeing the deeds and misdeeds of local government and businesses.
    The authors and book publishers looking for royalties from the Google deal may be the lucky ones in the old media sweepstakes. Print publishers are madly cutting, in part because the fourth quarter, postfinancial crisis, is going to be a miserable one. Advertising from the car industry, retail business and financial services — for years, the three sturdy legs of a stool that print once rested comfortably on — are in steep decline.
    So who can still afford to pay for the phone calls that reporters have to make? USA Today was made exempt from the current rounds of cuts at Gannett but even national papers, including The New York Times, have resorted to modest staff cuts over the last year. The blogosphere has had its share of news breaks, but absent a functioning mainstream media to annotate, it could be pretty darn quiet out there.
    At the recent American Magazine Conference, one of the speakers worried that if the great brands of journalism — the trusted news sources readers have relied on — were to vanish, then the Web itself would quickly become a “cesspool” of useless information. That kind of hand-wringing is a staple of industry gatherings.

    But in this case, it wasn’t an old journalism hack lamenting his industry. It was Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google.
    E-mail: carr@nytimes.com
  2. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Stones, sure. But also a way to pay the rent, the car note, the grocery bill and other costs of living while chasing down the big stories.

    Even "old media" is less and less willing to fund reporters to do days or weeks of leg work without some suit wanting to take a ruler to their inches-of-copy produced to gauge daily productivity.

    It's all about covering crime and scheduled events, listing community activities and telling people where to get the best deals in lawn mowers. "News you can use." Forget that "speaking truth to power" anachronism.
  3. FishHack76

    FishHack76 Active Member

    Come on, BLOGS! will save the day, and the majority of them won't just keep regurgitating mainstream media stories and then writing what are essentially columns on said stories ...
  4. Magic In The Night

    Magic In The Night Active Member

    It's funny. At our place, it's the Web picking up what the real reporters on the newspaper side provide. We've hired a bunch of Web people but their main job seems to be editing videos, coming up with silly little games to put up or posting wire stories. Even when a few real reporters were put over there, they begged to come back to the paper side because it was so much better. It's going to be quite a dilemma for the suits because we're still breaking major stuff on the newspaper side and winning awards for it but whether it will stay cost-effective or not is the question. For now, they seem happy to keep funding it.
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