Sunday, 13 June 2010

looking inside the so called journalism crisis


Congratulations to The Media Institute for allowing comments on its blog - surprising the number of think tanks and other organisations who still don't. That's a soft way of responding with some criticism of Kurt Wimmer's contention that Washington is "awash" with inquiries into the "so-called" journalism crisis. Mr Wimmer further states in a policy PDF: 

"All told, the amount of attention being given to the so-called "crisis in journalism" over the past two years has been staggering."

If so, the attention is having very limited impact. The lazy man's favourite thin slice mechanism, Google News Archives, reveals just 86 hits for variations on journalism crisis, since 1995. By comparison, there are 39,000+ hits for variations on the "future of news", journalism and so forth.

Extrapolating such variations to the rest of the web gets a similar number - 39,000 hits around the "crisis" theme, with a, yes, "staggering" 7.3 million for a glorious range of journalism "futures", most of them digital.

A quick Google search is neither comprehensive much less exhaustive. As a guilty white liberal I could rush off to Huffington Post and make all sorts of disparaging comments, and in all honesty probably will, but I also grow increasingly alarmed at the sheer quantum of the gap between left and right in America and across the globe.

This division might suit the conquering agendas of some but hardly constitutes informed policy, a declared objective of this institute.

All I will say at this stage is that prefacing journalism crisis with the words "so-called" calls into question the authors objectivity and grasp of the facts. Paper Cuts records the fact that there have been some 30,000+ job losses from US newsrooms in the last two years alone. This, on top of three or more decades of corporate restructuring has seen journalism stripped to the bone. Now those bones are being cracked open and the marrow sucked out.

Americans rightly regard themselves as world leaders but in the case of journalism, what The Media Institute and others have to ask themselves is where that leadership is taking us all.

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