Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google The Media

The Noisy and Prolonged Death of Journalism 388

Posted by kdawson
from the fat-lady-in-the-wings dept.
The war of words between the old and the new media is heating up some more. Eric Schmidt has an op-ed in Rupert Murdoch's WSJ (ironic, that) explaining to newspapers how Google wants to, and is trying to, help them. Kara Swisher's BoomTown column translates and deconstructs Schmidt's argument, hilariously. A few days back, the Washington Post's Michael Gerson became the latest journo to bemoan the death of journalism at the hands of the Internet; and investigative blogger Radley Balko quickly called B.S. on Gerson's claim that (all?) bloggers simply steal from (all?) hard-working, honest, ethical print journalists.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Noisy and Prolonged Death of Journalism

Comments Filter:
  • seeing an "emergency" someone will step in with government money, more regulation, etc, and it just goes downhill from here.

    Democrat Henry Waxman says that our imperial federal government will be involved in shaping the future of journalism in this country. He claims that it is "essential to U.S. democracy." John Leibowitz, the Chairman of the FTC says, "News is a public good ... We should be willing to take action if necessary to preserve the news that is vital to democracy."

    See one story at http://www.bre [breitbart.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jimbolauski (882977)
      The little bit of journalistic integrity left will be destroyed if the government starts picking up the tab. Newspapers will have a vested interest in getting funding so support of one candidate or another will be rewarded with money, instead of just interviews, questions at press conferences, and leaked memos.
      • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:30AM (#30323438)

        Just like the BBC, that depraved pit of corruption and bias.

        Err, wait: I misspelled FOX.

        • by tomhath (637240) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:45AM (#30324296)

          Just like the BBC, that depraved pit of corruption and bias. Err, wait: I misspelled FOX.

          For every one government owned media outlet that's even-handed I can name ten that are tools of the state, but that's not important.

          What is important is the fact that biased news outlets such as Fox or CNN can exist in the private sector.

          "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," - Evelyn Beatrice Hall

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by paiute (550198)

        The little bit of journalistic integrity left will be destroyed if the government starts picking up the tab. Newspapers will have a vested interest in getting funding so support of one candidate or another will be rewarded with money, instead of just interviews, questions at press conferences, and leaked memos.

        This was actually an issue in Boston recently, when the city gave a small minority paper a loan to stay in business:
        http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/07/17/menino_offers_loan_to_keep_banner_afloat/ [boston.com]

      • by ArcherB (796902) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:38AM (#30323504) Journal

        The little bit of journalistic integrity left will be destroyed if the government starts picking up the tab. Newspapers will have a vested interest in getting funding so support of one candidate or another will be rewarded with money, instead of just interviews, questions at press conferences, and leaked memos.

        As much as I hate to say it, it's that way now. NBC and it's sister stations are all owned by GE (at least until they sell to Comcast soon). This includes MSNBC. MSNBC is a very left-of-center network. While it has been shown that all media was biased toward Obama in the last election (yes [forbes.com], even Fox News [journalism.org]... numbers don't lie), MSNBC went above and beyond the call of duty and by far the biggest Obama supporter of all the major media networks.

        Now what does this have to do with GE? Who do you think would give more for green programs, Obama or McCain? Obviously Obama. Who stands to make a fortune off green programs? GE! GE makes the wind generators for wind farms, CFL and LED light bulbs and are well invested in other "green" areas. While it's great that GE is taking such a stance to greenify our world, it's not so great that they use their media subsidiaries to shape public opinion toward favoring one political party over the other to help their bottom line.

        However, you are correct that it would get much worse if the government were paying the bills. You could expect that whichever presidential candidate or political party that promised to increased funding to the press outlets would get the more favorable treatment.

        With that said, there should be some kind of oversight to prevent the corporations that own the press from using it to drive agendas with the purpose of increasing profits. For that matter, the press shouldn't be driving agendas at all!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Volante3192 (953645)

          Now what does this have to do with GE? Who do you think would give more for green programs, Obama or McCain? Obviously Obama. Who stands to make a fortune off green programs? GE! GE makes the wind generators for wind farms, CFL and LED light bulbs and are well invested in other "green" areas.

          GE also makes jet engines, for example, which military aircraft use. I think they would have been fine with either candidate.

      • by mikael_j (106439) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:43AM (#30323564)

        I take it by your "government is always worse than private sector" bias that you're most likely american.

        Here in Sweden the general consensus seems to be that SVT ("Sveriges Television" lit. "The swedish television") is the most reliable broadcaster while private ones are considered a lot less reliable by most people except for the extreme right who insist on SVT being "communist", "leftist" and "government controlled", they even use these descriptions now even though we currently have a right-wing coalition government.

        What's important is that there is separation between government-funded media outlets and the government that funds them, not that governments shouldn't fund media outlets (SVT has a lot of advantages over privately funded television networks, such as how they can broadcast shows that only appeal to a fairly small subset of the population while the private networks prefer constantly going for the least common denominator).

        /Mikael

    • by hitmark (640295)

      i would fear any organization where not every member of it knows the others on a first name basis.

      especially one where oneself have no say in who runs the show...

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Translation from minitruespeak.
      " Democrat(Socialist) Henry Waxman says that our imperial federal government will be involved in shaping the future of journalism(retaining control by preserving disinformation institutions) in this country. He claims that it is "essential to U.S. democracy."(essential to rule of the many by a minority) John Leibowitz, the Chairman of the FTC says, "News is a public good ... We should be willing to take action if necessary to preserv

    • by NoYob (1630681) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:39AM (#30323514)

      Sad is how many cheer it on who don't like AM talk radio without understanding that giving the government a foot in the door opens all to the affect.

      Isn't that always the case?

      When the Bush Admin was grabbing all this power for the Executive branch, those of us that found it disturbing, were called a few things and we didn't understand the necessity of it since we're in a time of war - or some such non-sense.

      Now comes the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Do the Republicans get it now? Of course not. The Democrats don't get it either, of course, and if they get their way, the inevitable Republicans that will get back power in some future election, will be able to do that same thing. So, in your AM Radio example, if the folks who want that out of the way, well, we just may see our beloved NPR bite the dust.

      Power always flips back and forth - which is a good thing because we'd have a really corrupt government,otherwise - see Venezuela or Iran - if it didn't and I for one welcome the flipping back and forth because in the long run it does limit one sides damage or the others.

      But the trouble is, once Government gets power, it doesn't give it up: regardless of who's in power. Just look at how the Obama Administration kept all the executive power that the Bush Admin took.

      Change indeed.

    • After Fox News won their argument in Florida establishing there was no need for them to report only the truth or facts, I see lots of room for regulation.

      You feel free to believe that a free market can self-regulate, but don't put the media under that umbrella. We all know what sells, what makes money, and its not good unbiased reporting with lots of research and fact checking. Those things were only ever done on the basis of personal or imposed integrity, a sense of honour that seems to be mostly lost.

    • by Jawn98685 (687784) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:04AM (#30323804)

      seeing an "emergency" someone will step in with government money, more regulation, etc, and it just goes downhill from here.

      Just... [exasperated gasp] fuck. How do you Ronald Regan "all government is evil" fan-boys keep coming up with this stuff? I mean, where, exactly, is there any evidence to suggest that "the government" is going to step in and take over the role held by the free press? No, the article you cite is evidence of quite to opposite (that which you claim not to fear nearly as much), the inordinate influence of big media companies in shaping how, when, and where we get access to information. Sure, the government, having been bought and paid for by those interests, will have a role, but it is the electorate's stupidly steadfast refusal to recognize that their "representative government" has been sold to the highest bidder that is to blame, not "the government".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Penguinisto (415985)

        I mean, where, exactly, is there any evidence to suggest that "the government" is going to step in and take over the role held by the free press?

        The so-called "Fairness Doctrine" stands out...

    • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:11AM (#30323888) Homepage

      seeing an "emergency" someone will step in with government money, more regulation, etc, and it just goes downhill from here.

      Then how do you explain the BBC? The closest thing we have on this side of the pond is NPR. Any coincidence that the two best pure news sources anywhere both get public funding?

  • Rupert Murdock... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:04AM (#30323168) Homepage Journal

    ...has been more deadly to the art of journalism than all of the technical innovations in the last 200 years put together.

    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:26AM (#30323392) Homepage Journal

      Troll?? Really?

      Murdock has ushered in the era of factless journalism and pure opinion as news. Right wing slashdotters might not like that, but that's what it looks like from my POV, ergo this isn't a Troll.

      • by Mortice (467747)

        A-Team member to media mogul. That's quite a career progression. (I think you meant Rupert Murdoch). Not that I disagree with you. :)

      • by corbettw (214229) <.corbettw. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:46AM (#30323600) Journal

        You made an emotionally charged comment that was designed to illicit a response. That's a classic troll.

        I understand it's not always avoidable; I do it myself from time to time. And when I get modded Troll because of it, I might be momentarily upset by it but I generally don't whine about it in a subsequent post. Because that's another classic troll technique.

        Try to provide something more substantive to the conversation, and when those times occur when you just can't then don't whine about how others view your opinion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Saint Stephen (19450)

        Really, that's such a naive point of view. Of course Fox has an obvious opinion, but it's also quite full of facts. Exactly like PBS news.

        C-Span is an example of something that doesn't have an opinion; not Fox or CNN or CBS or ABC or PBS or MSNBC or anybody.

        All the rest of them are exactly the same; Fox is just more obvious because they don't hide behind the appearance of self-grandeur the rest of them do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cytotoxic (245301)

          C-Span is an example of something that doesn't have an opinion; not Fox or CNN or CBS or ABC or PBS or MSNBC or anybody.

          Somebody find some mod points for C-span! If you really want unbiased coverage - at least in the coverage itself if not in the choice of what to cover - you need to watch C-span. If you spend a week or two following their coverage, you'll soon discover who is a talking-point party monkey and who isn't, because they air the briefings without edits.

          You'll often see the spokesman for party X briefing reporters about the issue of the day using an obviously poll-tested turn of phrase that you've never heard

    • Re:Rupert Murdock... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:48AM (#30323620) Homepage Journal

      Bad writing has don its damage as well. TFA was BORING. I read maybe the first four paragraphs and almost fell asleep. The guy writes as if he's being paid by the word.

      When a blog is informative and readable, and the newspaper article reads like the writer didn't really want to write it but slogged though it for the money, why would I read the paper?

    • Well, he's trying to be another William Randolph Hearst, only not yet as big and bad as Hearst (who is credited for singlehandedly inventing yellow journalism, and, through his "Remember the Maine!" slogan, for starting the Spanish American War).

      Hearst had an easier time of it than Murdock, since when Hearst created his empire, he only had to contend with newspaper and telegraph technology: he bought control of the former outright, but found he could sufficiently disrupt opposition use of the telegraph ne

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:07AM (#30323196) Homepage
    Well, I guess whoring your own clumsily written anti-aggregator OpEd to an aggregator site is one way to get traffic and survive in the Google age.
  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:07AM (#30323206)

    I think in retrospect, the mainstream media should have heeded the warning of one Alvin Toffler, who wrote in The Third Wave in 1980 that as communication technologies improves, the days of the the mass media controlling media distribution will come to an end.

    With cable TV, small-dish satellite TV and the public Internet, Toffler's warning has become 2009 reality. The only survivors will be those who can quickly embrace taking full advantage of today's communication technologies, and Time, Inc.'s recent "fantasy demo" of an electronic edition of Sports Illustrated designed to take full advantage to future tablet computers (such as the much-rumored Apple tablet) is proof there are some in the mainstream media who understand they must change with the times (pun not intended :-) ).

    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:03AM (#30323788)

      I think some of the cyberpunk writers had it right. Has the "information" age made people better equipped with, well, information? Are people more knowledgeable? Or are they retreating further and further into their own private virtual reality bubbles. Are they seeing the infinite shades of gray in this world, or is it all just angels and demons, black and white and us versus them?

      And none of this finger pointing at one side or the other. Just aboput everyone is guilty. The moment you start identifying with a political party or an ideological label, or thinking you're better because of your choice of operating system or the car you drive or books you read you have become part of the problem.

      All this tech has done is feed into the antiquated tribal mentality that might have served us well 20,000 years ago, but now it's just ripping everything apart. Watch yourselves closely for the next couple of days as news stories appear. See if you catch yourself just making huge, broadly based assumptions about certain people. Question every assumption. Be skeptical about *everything* just for a while.

      It's impossible to be an independent thinker any more. If I praise Obama on one thing, I get called a socialist. If I criticize him on another thing, I'm called a right wingnut. There is no correct side here- they are all profoundly effed in the head.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:08AM (#30323210) Homepage Journal

    It's just the death of journalism as we know it.

    Print, TV, and radio news outlets are going to have to decide if they are in the print/tv/radio news or if they are in the business of news.

    If it's the former, they will die. If its the latter, they can survive if they pay attention.

    • by rumith (983060)
      I think that centralized media will survive in any case, even if the government has to fund them to keep them afloat. Besides being a pretty good advertisement platform, newspapers and TV are also very useful as tools of propaganda. We'll just have to see if they are useful enough in that role to justify upkeep, or our overlords (the old ones) will invent a find of tricks to do the same job without TV/newspapers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:27AM (#30323412)

      It's the same mistake railway companies did. They thought AND insisted that they were in the business of trains and railroads instead of a CARRIER, or cargo transport. Now Fedex, UPS, airlines, cars, et al, have taken over the business of "transportation," something that was once a monopoly for the rail systems in the industrial era.

      Disclaimer: I have worked in the newsroom for a mid-size newspaper.

      Likewise, journalism is the business of gathering and disseminating news (supported by ad revenue). Old schoolers are still tied-up to the medium which they see as an investment, and who can blame them since they poured millions for new printing presses in the 80s'; full computer infrastructure changeover in the 90s', all of which should be done paying for itself off by now. And only now this is when they can sit back and relax, and let the machines and its people work itself to make profit for the owner, similar to a landlord. But nope, the internet is here and they need to change everything again. They can either whine and cry to congress, or get on with the times.

      Another astoundingly stupid move by the newspapers is undercharging ad rates for online editions. They thought because internet is so "new" with so few readers, and afraid the advertisers wouldn't buy this "virtual" space which doesn't use ink (but does use electricity and CPU cycles, however....), they could "experiment" with charging $50 for 100x100px space for a month, whereas a business card size ads on newsprint would cost $150 for two weeks. Newspapers have really shot themselves in the foot with this introductory rate which has lasted for several years, whereas the smart organizations know their true online operational costs, and these late old-timers will have an uphill battle convincing advertisers that their online space rate is worth the same or greater than their print spaces.

      I, for one will not miss newspapers. I will miss journalism.

    • by xzvf (924443) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:28AM (#30323424)
      We used to yell at the TV, complain at the breakfast table to our spouse, hit the steering wheel. If we were really engaged, we'd write a letter to the editor or call the radio station. There was no option for TV, except being in the right place at the right time (the tornado hit my trailer). Now, we can respond within seconds of an article being published, vent anger or correct mistakes. Add insight and expand the story. I find the comments more interesting than the story a surprising amount of the time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Mattern (191822)

      It's just the death of journalism as we know it.

      And I feel fine!

  • by emptybody (12341) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:09AM (#30323220) Homepage Journal

    The internet does not replace the journalists aka reporters.

    it is merely changing the distribution.

    The town crier was replaced by the paper boy but journalism, gathering the facts, reporting on events, has lived on.

    it is not the printing press that makes a journalist.

    My big wish is that factual reporting would regain its place ABOVE the opinionated offerings seen on places such as FOXnews.

    • by us7892 (655683) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:00AM (#30323742) Homepage
      My big wish is that factual reporting would regain its place ABOVE the opinionated offerings seen on places such as FOXnews

      FOX News is better than all the other news channels. Certainly leaning right, no doubt about it. But, overall, a much better window to view our blathering leaders and crumbling nation through.

      MSNBC is a disaster. CNN is scrambling, trying to retreat, if only modestly, from its left-lean. ABC is trying to claw its way back off the ledge. CBS has simply given up.

      Some of my favorite people from other networks are joining FOX. I love it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk (75490)

      Factual reporting will still exist. It will remain in paid journals, newspapers, etc. Even today, people who pay attention to such reporting are actually in the minority. To most people it is really nerdy to read the Wall Street Journal or something like that.

      Most Americans aren't interested in that: they want to hear someone loudly spew oversimplifications and accusations that they can rally behind. "The [other party] is a bunch of [insult]! Next up: Best and worst dressed celebrities!"

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:10AM (#30323226) Journal

    The Noisy and Prolonged Death of Journalism

    In Schmidt's piece, he used the word 'journalism' once:

    I believe it also requires a change of tone in the debate, a recognition that we all have to work together to fulfill the promise of journalism in the digital age.

    Don't ever kid yourself that journalism will die. It's certainly changing but the thing that might die is the old model of power structures and funding around journalism. Journalists will still do reporting and writing for a monetary sum. The channels where that money comes from are rapidly changing ('rapidly' is relative to how historically slow change has been in this world). This friction is creating the death throes of (most) companies involved as money makers in the traditional channels.

    It's change, it's probably for the better (as Schmidt notes) but one thing's for sure: it's unavoidable. Adapt or die.

    One more thing:

    Eric Schmidt has an op-ed in Rupert Murdoch's WSJ (ironic, that)

    Never forget that Murdoch still sells eyeballs--at all costs. If it meant betraying a political party or betraying his core values or even displaying another side of the debate, he's here for one thing: money. What we see in the op-ed piece is actually one of the few positive effects of Murdoch's greed. I offer him my rare applause if he had anything to do with this being printed in the WSJ although I'm certain the WSJ printed it to generate revenue and he merely approved of it.

    • by flyneye (84093)

      It may live but it will certainly need to adapt in ways that it is struggling against right now. It's kinda like a turkey in the rain. It gets hit on the head by a drop of water and looks up. As it looks up water drops run down its nasal passages. It continues this strange curiosity til it drowns.
      Right now the news industry is unwilling to make the concessions needed for its own survival. Meanwhile another species is rising.
      I suppose you can guess the rest of this tale repeated countless times through histo

      • It's kinda like a turkey in the rain. It gets hit on the head by a drop of water and looks up. As it looks up water drops run down its nasal passages. It continues this strange curiosity til it drowns.

        As someone who worked on farms where they raised turkeys I had never noticed large heaps of dead turkey carcasses when it rained. But perhaps this happens with wild turkeys which would make survival in the wild a short experience. So I looked it up.

        Of course this anecdote is hilariously false [snopes.com].

        • by flyneye (84093)

          Still an entertaining analogy for the purpose of illustration. Speaking as a multiple turkey attack survivor and having had my fill of turkey, holidays ago, if they don't drown themselves, let's drop them from helicopters over famine areas to see if they can fly. Everybody wins!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by paiute (550198)

          It's kinda like a turkey in the rain. It gets hit on the head by a drop of water and looks up. As it looks up water drops run down its nasal passages. It continues this strange curiosity til it drowns.

          As someone who worked on farms where they raised turkeys I had never noticed large heaps of dead turkey carcasses when it rained. But perhaps this happens with wild turkeys which would make survival in the wild a short experience. So I looked it up.

          Of course this anecdote is hilariously false [snopes.com].

          Benjamin Franklin would like a word with the original poster.

    • Journalists will still do reporting and writing for a monetary sum.

      They sure will; and that's what's important to realize. I often don't like the way the news industry operates but there is a real need for talented, paid journalists to write informed articles. The model by which the revenue is generated and distributed to the journalists will need to change but the journalists themselves will remain the core of the news.

      As wonderful as user-generated-content is, it isn't a replacement for years of training in journalism. Many bloggers are very talented writers, but general

  • If all journalism comes from blogging instead of professional newspapers by professional journalists, the news people read will be much less controlled, and probably have much more varied opinions. Which of both is best? You decide.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:12AM (#30323260) Homepage

    Who exactly are they referring to?

    - Political journalists, who help their sources insult people and ruin careers anonymously? Or do what Stephen Colbert pointed out was "the White House tells you what to write, you write it down, and print it."
    - Sports journalists, who basically are professional sports fans, desperately clinging to rumor, conjecture, and hearsay?
    - Business journalists, who often act as cheerleaders for a company's stock more than anything else?
    - Slashdot editors? (enough said)

    These are not the days of Bernstein, Woodward, Hersch, etc.

  • by flyneye (84093) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:13AM (#30323272) Homepage

    The wonders of the internet and the change they have brought about.(sigh)
    When Ford mass produced the "A" and "T" a lot of buggy whip mfg., saddle mfg. and liveries went out of business. Hay production declined in favor of food crops.Horse breeders and trainers suffered. You might say a big industry went teats up. We simply didn't need their services or needed limited quantities. Before that Coach services were displaced by Rail services.
            When News, Music and Movie industries cannot adapt to serve the needs/desires of their benefactors , they die like dinosaurs in a glacier. Of course there will be a lot of whining about lost jobs and hyperbole about the affected economy, but all in all, it's for the best and I welcome it. These were industries that were not friendly or really helpful to the benefactors (us) so their passing for something better is to be welcomed with open arms, minds and hearts. As for the displaced...They too will have to adapt. In the words of the Judge Smales character in the Movie Caddyshack " Well, Danny, the world needs ditchdiggers too."

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:18AM (#30323318) Homepage Journal

    While the Internet may cause 'prolonged death' of traditional journalism, in various countries of the world journalists are being actually killed. In Russia alone, during the years of Putin/Medvedev about 300 journalists died under various violent circumstances. [wikipedia.org]

  • by alen (225700) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:18AM (#30323320)

    for years the model was to sell the newspaper for the cost of print and let advertising cover everything else including the profits. in the late 1990's the newspapers should have bought up Ebay and Craigslist or at the very least started a competitor. instead the trust fund babies who run most of the newspapers allowed their content to be commoditized by Google, they lost the advertising market probably because they thought it was beneath them to go online. and now they are crying. the WSJ was an exception to this for a few years, but there are some good financial bloggers out there now that will give them a lot of competition.

    I remember 10 years ago if you wanted to sell your apartment in NYC you had to advertise in the NY Times and pay their ridiculous rates. and the supposedly liberal pro-blue collar newspaper that the NY Times is supposed to be has the snobbiest RE section i've ever seen. on sundays you would see people walking around with a copy of the Real Estate section checking out buildings to buy in. these days the realtors still advertise in the NY Times but it's a generic add with the same properties that probably aren't on the market anymore and the goal is to get people to call the office. not to sell a specific property. all the properties for sale are listed on redfin, craiglist, MLS which is open to everyone now

    and there have been so many new immigrants in the NYC area lately that it makes sense to advertise in their ethnic non-english newspapers as well.

  • The idea that if I read about something in a paper I should not be allowed to blog it is absurd. It always has been, only now journalists are having to compete with this new thing called the internet and the value of their service is being driven down.

    We see this happening over and over again. You have to adapt, that's all there is to say about it.

  • I am sure the "horse manure picker-uppers union workers (HMPUW)" biatched a lot when Henry Ford came up with an efficient and effective way of transportation.

    Progress is a bitch; embracing it is the only way to survive....

  • Paradigm shifts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bbbaldie (935205)
    Not the death of journalism, just the end of old-style journalism. Nearly every industry in the world has been forced to change with time, but journalism was pretty much TV, radio, and print for 50 years. Now the web is out there. Deal with it.
  • Its funny that Schmidt mentions that "Video didn't kill the radio star." Videos were a good promotion outlet for music, but the Internet effectively killed music videos on television.

    Google news is an aggregation of news from various media outlet's websites. Its not going to kill newspapers, but Google news and Internet news in general is conditioning people to expect to get news for free.

    In the past, newspapers were subsidized by advertising and subscribers. Unfortunately, Internet advertising is not n

    • Well, also, there's a revenue problem - right now, a huge chunk of online ad revenue goes to companies like Google, not to the organization providing the content. Part of Schmidt's problem - and he isn't about to admit it - is that in the absence of good content (and no, good content doesn't just happen), Google's search engine isn't worth nearly as much. The search engine is just an ad delivery mechanism - for Google.

      He's claiming to be the solution, and that's not an obvious conclusion. Google's arguabl

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      One model I've seen is for a newspaper to provide free access to a pdf of its full print edition. Just like reading the old-fashioned newspaper, print ads and all. Nice thing for the newspaper, the reader can't block the ads so they can charge regular print advertising rates and the distribution costs are lower. Nice thing for the reader, it doesn't cost anything and is just there on the computer whenever they want it in a form that they are used to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by paiute (550198)

      Videos were a good promotion outlet for music, but the Internet effectively killed music videos on television.

      As I recall, MTV killed the music video by transitioning its programming over to game shows and reality shows until eventually you could not turn on the channel and see a music video for hours. This change was made way before the Internet got big enough tubes to flow a music video to your house.

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:35AM (#30323476) Homepage
    1. WorldNetDaily.com does its own investigative reporting and is always trying to get press credentials to events. Sometimes they get them, and sometimes they don't since they are not "traditional media".
    2. We Are Change is an entire nationwide network of aggressive news gatherers.
    3. One of Alex Jones' early exploits was to crash the Bohemian Grove and report on it.
    4. Many of the armchair bloggers such as myself (when I ran underreported.com from 2002-2004) simply read government websites and scientific literature and report on it. Journalism seems to have this code of ethics that says you have to get a quote from a human being before you can report on it. That's nonsense -- all this stuff is out there on thomas.loc.gov and everywhere else and the traditional media ignores it -- and when they do report on it they don't even bother to link to it.
    5. So much action gets recorded on cell phone videos now. Important stuff gets bid out to the traditional media because they're willing to pay more. After they die, the popular bloggers will take it, or it'll just end up on YouTube and bloggers will link to it there.
  • by Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:36AM (#30323488)

    Let me begin by saying that most comments on /. dealing with traditional journalism quickly turn into a bonfire, cheering the death of traditional journalism and heralding blogs as a bright new dawn with untold promises. I think this is wrongheaded, for reasons I'll get to quickly.

    I work for a pretty niche tech magazine as a writer and editor. Much of what I cover is business tech., a lot of venture news and business tech products. It might amuse people how traditionally we do things from a journalistic point of view, since we're frequently writing about the technologies and sites that are changing journalism - editors comb leads and find stories, hand them off to writers who do interviews and then pass the copy back to the editors, who fact-check and rewrite. etc. We have an online component, but we're still very definitely a print publication first.

    I think blogging and new journalism has a lot to offer. The distribution method and quick turnaround is great. They can get and exchange news much quicker than I can, although in my particular niche there's not much urgent news, so being a monthly pub. isn't really a problem. But I also think new journalism has a downside, and I think Gerson is right about many of the things he says (never thought I'd say that).

    First off, objectivity is not dead. No, you can never be perfectly objective. And objectivity doesn't necessarily mean never expressing an opinion. But it does mean disclosing conflicts of interests (not that traditional journalism has always done a good job of this - it hasn't) and trying to be as honest as possible with your readers. My biggest problem with blogging in general, at least as far as replacing traditional journalism, is that so much of it is done by interested parties. Sure, you can get great info about goings on directly from CEOs and the people involved, but oftentimes it's like hearing about a break-up from only one half of the couple. Business being the way it is, once you're working in an industry, you've got some kind of relationship - however tenuous - with everyone else in it.

    I'm not going to name names, but especially in venture and business journalism, many apparently disinterested blogging parties have a history in business themselves, and many are currently engaged in business ventures of their own. There's plenty of people who aren't going to let this cloud their judgment or color their writing, but how can you tell? People talk about new journalism like there's no gatekeepers, but companies and organizations and PR agencies are always going to have gatekeepers. And if it's someone in an industry writing about goings-on in that same industry (which many people see as a big plus for blogging - since, they say, a participant knows more about the situation than an uninvolved third-party journalist), they're going to have a vested interest in not causing too many waves. Sure, some people get big enough or well-read enough that it doesn't matter, and admittedly plenty of lowly traditional journalists have been forbidden from doing a hit piece because they don't have the clout (or their pub. doesn't), but that added conflict of interest certainly can't help matters.

    People like to heap scorn on traditional journalism, but there's a very good reason for fact-checking, and there's a very good reason for objectivity. I'm all for new journalism and I read plenty of blogs. I do think that form of journalism is, more or less, the future. But let's not be quite so hasty to discard everything that made traditional journalism what it was (even if it's tarnished, in this day and age), and let's not be quite so quick to put all our faith in blogging. I'm confident that a more concrete code of ethics will develop in blogging, and bloggers who lie and distort will get weeded out just like traditional journalists who've committed the same transgressions tend to be (eventually), but I'm not quite ready to hang up my sad little hat with the press pass or my dreaded red editor's pen just yet.

    • by Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:46AM (#30323592)

      Oh, and another thing... most of the misdeeds people in this comment thread are attributing to journalists are really the work of columnists. A columnist can write about whatever he wants and is probably the closest thing to the stereotypical blogger in traditional journalism. Columnists aren't journalists (although many of them used to be) because they're writing opinion pieces, mostly, instead of proper journalism. Michael Gerson is a columnist. Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann are the cable equivalent of the columnist. Edward R. Murrow was also a columnist, at least in terms of the work people most remember him for. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who broke Watergate, those guys are journalists.

      I think it says a lot about the state of media in this company that many people can no longer tell the difference.

    • by photozz (168291) <(photozz) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:08AM (#30323852) Homepage

      I'll address the Objectivity thing. Ok, here's two scenarios:

      Print media - Writer and editor let a story slide through with factual errors (IE: most of FOX news). 20 years ago, how would anyone know? Unless we had direct knowledge of the facts, most people would not know the difference. Newspapers at the time were the equivalent of a deaf man on a soapbox yelling at people. One way communication that the majority of people had to take as the truth, regardless of the actual facts.

      Online media - Writer and editor let a story slide through with factual errors - The Internet collectively calls bullshit and the writer/editor/blog is discredited. The truth makes it out in the time it takes to type it in. We see it every-single-day. A piece of news becomes a discussion and the truth is generally revealed for all. News is reported, investigated, vetted, buried in peat moss and dug back up before being framed for all to see. This is the advantage of the on-line media and one of the reasons I think print media is scared as hell. They can and have been called out on hidden agendas and sloppy reporting.

      Journalism is not dead, just your ability to be the lord high gods of information traffic. I don't mourn it.

      Mot of your comments above boil down to "You can't trust bloggers, they might be sleestak, but you can trust us, cause we're not sleestaks."

      If all print media disappears tomorrow, thousands of other sources will spring up in it's place. It's time to close up the buggy shop and learn to make cars.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I wasn't saying that bloggers aren't objective. Many are. I am saying that objectivity should be kept as an ideal - which is something many people want to throw out, saying that you need to be subjective and speak truth to power and tell people your opinions. That's fine for opinion writing, but it's not journalism. That's all I'm saying about objectivity. That it's good and that we need it. From your comment, you seem to agree. I also think that journalism has done a terrible job at it, recently.

        The only r

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:42AM (#30324260) Homepage

      As one of those who put up some gripes with modern-day journalism, the biggest problem I was alluding to was not the censorship by the news organizations, which blog-based journalism could remedy, but 5 much more critical problems:
      1. The mixing of editorializing and reporting. The telltale sign for that is only 1 major source for a story rather than 2 or 3 sources (some of whom disagree with each other).
      2. The mix of advertising and reporting. This is the big one for the business press. For instance, a story with a headline of "CEO John Doe of Initech announces launch of FlimFlam" combined with an advertising link to buy shares of Initech.
      3. The dependency of journalists on their sources. This causes all sorts of problems, the most common of which is that the source can threaten to cut off the reporter if the reporter doesn't print something favorable to the source. This is a huge problem in political reporting, because reporter's careers tend to depend on getting and keeping insider sources.
      4. If 2-3 sources say the same thing, and it's not dug into more deeply, reporters will not infrequently incorrectly assume that the 2-3 sources aren't organized. A classic case of this is the Pentagon paying retired generals to stick to a party line, while reporters were using the retired generals as independent analysts (kudos to the reporters who did look more deeply and figure that one out).
      5. A perception by a lot of news organizations that speed beats accuracy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      People like to heap scorn on traditional journalism, but there's a very good reason for fact-checking, and there's a very good reason for objectivity. I'm all for new journalism and I read plenty of blogs. I do think that form of journalism is, more or less, the future. But let's not be quite so hasty to discard everything that made traditional journalism what it was (even if it's tarnished, in this day and age), and let's not be quite so quick to put all our faith in blogging. I'm confident that a more concrete code of ethics will develop in blogging, and bloggers who lie and distort will get weeded out just like traditional journalists who've committed the same transgressions tend to be (eventually), but I'm not quite ready to hang up my sad little hat with the press pass or my dreaded red editor's pen just yet.

      Events in recent memory when the "traditional" press has failed us:

      • Presidential Election of 2001 (Bush was an idiot, but the press gave into threats that critical coverage would result in less access in the future).
      • Iraq (the press gave into the administration's spin and failing to report the intimidation that led to many editors shying away from critical reporting, particularly about the credibility of "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction, the cost the war, incompetence surrounding the post invasion pe
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      People like to heap scorn on traditional journalism, but there's a very good reason for fact-checking, and there's a very good reason for objectivity.

      I think you entirely miss the point. People cheer the death of traditional journalism because they do not perceive traditional journalists as objective or as doing much fact checking at all. In most cases an article from a blog is going to be better supported with citations than a newspaper article. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw a citation

  • by smchris (464899) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:41AM (#30323536)

    It's like the newspapers were the last to notice that they were dying. Which _so_ highlights the underlying problem.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:48AM (#30323618) Homepage

    I won't regurgitate most of what Radley Balko said, as his post is probably one of the most insightful I've ever read on this subject, but there are two functions that the papers do or are supposed to do, not one:

    -Aggregate news
    -Investigative journalism

    Very few do investigative journalism anymore. Most of it is just aggregating and writing up some additional filter around press releases and such. The average crime story is no more nuanced and investigative than regurgitating what the police, prosecutor and defense attorney have to say. Most newspapers do so little investigative journalism that they are, quite frankly, as useless and vestigial to our society's continued liberties as tits on a bull.

    What most newspapers are upset about is the fact that new media is more efficient at cheaply aggregating raw information and sprucing it up with some additional verbage. It's not like they're losing money because others are stealing the hard work of their investigators.

    • And I'd like to clarify something about the original post here. Radley Balko is not just some random blogger. He is an investigative journalist (a damn fine one) for Reason Magazine (a damn fine publication). I believe his official title is "Senior Editor" (How does someone my own age qualify as a senior anything? Total grade inflation).

  • I think it is a bit silly that journalism executives think it is everyone else's responsibility for them to make money.
  • by davide marney (231845) * <(davide.marney) (at) (netmedia.org)> on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:52AM (#30323668) Journal

    I have yet to see any major newspaper actively recruit and develop the legions of amateur reporters out there armed with a computer. Major league sports has a farm system for developing and identifying talent, and bringing it into play. Newspapers need to embrace what's happening, not compete and complain. They're the experts. They should be leading the exploitation of the Internet for the delivery of news and information.

    Truth be told, tiny C-SPAN is far and away the best in the news business at getting this right. Their use of all the means of modern communication -- radio, TV, Internet -- is outstanding. They run contests to develop young reporters. They have blog aggregation pages. They run dedicated news dashboards during special events such as elections. They have call-in shows. They are scrupulously even-handed in their coverage, which is not only the best way to be objective, it makes for a lively and interesting show. Watch and learn, guys. It's not rocket science.

  • by cybereal (621599) on Friday December 04, 2009 @10:55AM (#30323694) Homepage

    Respect for Pulitzer's form of yellow journalism was a eulogy in action for journalism 100 years ago. The fact that journalism still exists is only a testament for the public's continued desire for era-appropriate mild fiction and sensationalism. The fact that we huzzah at the awarding of a prize named after the man considered the inventor of what non-news non-journalist pundits like Bill O, and Sean H thrive on is enough evidence to show that real journalism hasn't been a public concern for a very, very long time.

    So don't shed a tear for journalism now. It has already been dead for very nearly a century.

  • most of what bloggers do is "editorial comment". when I write opinion I link to the original source. if a popular blogging site does that, it helps the news organization. One way "the press" is kept in line and alternate viewpoints presented (most news places have a "slant" or agenda to the way political or religious news is presented.

  • by david_bonn (259998) <davidbonn.mac@com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:18AM (#30323964) Homepage Journal

    Let's see, the big news stories this week: (1) Tiger Woods gets in a fender bender after he gets in a fight with his wife, and (2) the White House party crashers apparently lied about other stuff, too.

    Journalism is already dead.

  • by cuby (832037) on Friday December 04, 2009 @11:42AM (#30324262)
    Journalism will never die... As the vinyl didn't died either. Why some activity far more important will?
    This is stuff printed by hysterical people. There will always exist some form of journalism. The more independent ones (thank good!) will undoubtedly have more success than the mass market ones because there will be less competent bloggers of that type. Mainstream news are more like entertainment, and are suffering just like big music editors or film distributors.
  • by sherriw (794536) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:31PM (#30325806)

    News corporations and journalists are not the same thing. Where a news corporation's primary concern is to make money by selling information, a good journalist is most interested in discovering truth and making that truth available to the public. The more people the better.

    The Internet has caused a major shakeup, and from the sounds of it a break down of the entities known as news corporations. Will these die at the hands of an open web? Maybe. Most likely if they continue to stubbornly refuse to change.

    However the existence of the dedicated, skilled journalist will only be at risk if he or she insists on tying their fate to the new corps. Twittered and blogged amateur 'news' only goes so far. Ultimately the most reliable, accurate and compelling sources of news will bubble to the top of the public's attention. Will news reporting be as lucrative as it once was? Probably not... but maybe it will become something that the talented journalist does as a side job rather than a full time one. Maybe a new profit model will emerge- who can know what will be needed or wanted in the future. We may reach a point where companies, organizations or individuals will pay by contract for a respected journalist to investigate and report on a specific news item for them. Who knows?

    The point is, I don't see the 'death of journalism' coming, but rather the death of the current news corporation model.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

Working...