Thursday, 22 April 2010

strange denials over journalism crisis

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A strong culture of denial running through mainstream media ignores how bad the journalism crisis really is.

Mainstream media coverage over the last month - as informally defined by Google news searches - still sees dozens more references to "the future of ..." journalism, news, media and so forth.

Viewpoints range from flat out denial to vaguely hopeful, a few even sound excited.

Not even half a dozen stories refer directly to a journalism crisis.

Conservative commentators acknowledge the journalism crisis but refute any role for public funding despite wealthy Republicans accepting billions in bailout dollars for "too big to fail" institutions like banks and car companies.

One US study finding that a loss of more than a billion dollars from journalism spending has been answered  with barely US$140 million for frontline reporting from news trusts and non-profits.

This would be like expecting General Motors to make a full recovery - which it has - on roughly 10 per cent of what it got from American tax-payers.

Strangest aspect of crisis denials is the impression that journalism, alone, somehow, has escaped the global economic crisis and neither needs nor deserves assistance making it through to the next golden age of journalism - defying a newly established global logic.

As previously noted here and in other comment pieces, the last golden age began fading soon after the Watergate expose back in the 1970s.

An increasingly less free market of ideas has suffered similar shrinkage over the last few decades, to the point where trillions can be wiped off share markets because the attack dogs of journalism are long gone, or too few to make a difference. 

Most of the watch dogs slept through the global financial crisis, shouldered out of the way by muscular lap dogs licking at the same conflicts of interest as banks, brokers and board directors that saw the housing bubble pop, taking the rest of the world with it.

Compared to costs of global financial crisis, arguably collapsing from journalism's failure to fulfill its watchdog role, a bailout of independent, investigative journalism has got to be cheap as chips.

More vital than banks, far more essential than cars, strong, independent and investigative journalism is central to planetary futures at a time of looming climate driven crisis from food to water, shelter and, an emerging term, "social cohesion."

Lack of social cohesion suggests disastrous potential for not millions but billions of lives.

Imperative that corruption, conflicts of interest and fraud is exposed on a massive scale, now, lest such events become an immediate reality, not distant possibility.


France-Soir facing challenges in re-establishing itself

Martin Langeveld may be crowning print king too soon 

Internet news threatens traditional news channels, but what about print?

The Huffington Post examines a small publication that recently won a Pulitzer

Spot.Us brings community funded journalism site to Seattle

Does the Financial Times have a perfect business model?

Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom

iPad may not be the answer print was hoping for

Poynter Receives $750000 Ford Foundation Grant To Expand Journalism Sense 

Journalism Remembers its Past and Meets its Future

Four Questions for ProPublica Pulitzer Winner Sheri Fink
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski delivers tough love to broadcasters

Bad News! A Prognosis On The Health And Well Being Of Print Journalism

Franklin Center's Take on ProPublica's Pulitzer

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