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Mon Nov 12, 2012, 04:28 PM

Is the death of newspapers the end of good citizenship? (CS Monitor)

Good article. Highlights similar situations across the country like the one cited in the opening paragraphs. Originally published in the CS Monitor weekly print edition. ~ pinto

Is the death of newspapers the end of good citizenship?

The death of newspapers by cutbacks, outright disappearance, or morphing into lean websites means a reduction of watchdog reporting and less local information. Some say it has caused a drop in civic participation. Is it a blow to good citizenship?

By Jessica Bruder, Correspondent / November 11, 2012



One Saturday in June, the Pinstripe Brass Band played a traditional jazz funeral in the lakeside Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. When "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" gave way to a livelier tune, dozens of mourners danced.

But there was no coffin. Black frosting on a sheet cake spelled "-30-," the mark reporters put at a story's end. This was a requiem for a newspaper.

The 175-year-old daily Times-Picayune, with a paid weekday circulation of more than 134,000, had announced plans to slash print publication to three days a week, leaving daily coverage to its online edition. "Paper Lays Off 200 Employees" blared a Times-Picayune headline. Those cuts included the funeral's host, photographer John McCusker, who had documented hurricane Katrina from a kayak after losing his home to the floodwaters.

<snip>

The irregular, diminished patchwork of media that remains which encompasses fewer seasoned reporters won't come close to offering the same intensive coverage that a full-force daily did, says activist Anne Milling. On the watchdog side, that means reduced government accountability. And on the information-delivery side, in a city where a third of adults lack home Internet access, the new Web focus will leave the most vulnerable Picayune readers behind.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2012/1111/Is-the-death-of-newspapers-the-end-of-good-citizenship

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Reply Is the death of newspapers the end of good citizenship? (CS Monitor) (Original post)
pinto Nov 2012 OP
locks Nov 2012 #1
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #2
pinto Nov 2012 #3
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #4
mojowork_n Nov 2012 #5
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #8
mojowork_n Nov 2012 #9
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #10
mojowork_n Nov 2012 #13
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #14
mojowork_n Nov 2012 #15
pinto Nov 2012 #7
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #11
Paladin Nov 2012 #16
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #17
mojowork_n Nov 2012 #18
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #19
daisiebell Nov 2012 #6
ProgressiveProfessor Nov 2012 #12
MisterScruffles Nov 2012 #22
jade3000 Nov 2012 #20
roseBudd Nov 2012 #21
jade3000 Nov 2012 #23
roseBudd Nov 2012 #24
jade3000 Nov 2012 #25
roseBudd Nov 2012 #26

Response to pinto (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:02 PM

1. Thanks to the Christian Science Monitor

Thanks for posting this excellent article. What can we do about losing good newspapers? Most of the ones left are owned by conservative corporations so the national news is skewed and lifted from other sources, and they cannot afford to report local news and issues that we need to be informed. Of those newspapers online I wonder if young people are reading them; we have to pay to read the good articles and opinions in NYTimes, WashPost, LaTimes, Wall Street Journal and most of the rest. All my life I have paid for delivery of newspapers but can no longer afford the cost, even though they are filled with expensive ads. Even our local alternative free paper in Denver is still alive only because most of its ads are for sex and cigarettes! How can we have good citizens when they cannot get good information even with all the technology?

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:25 PM

2. One of the stalwarts of old media complaining about the fate of old media

The newspaper business model is irreparably busted. Get over it and move on. There never was anything professional about journalism, so beating your breast about its so called demise is silly.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:44 PM

3. The CSM is one of a few orgs that still maintains a network of international reporting sites.

On scene, local and in real time. The piece here isn't complaining about the fate of old media, imo. Nor is it bemoaning the changes in media at large. None are beating their breast as far as I read it. It's a piece of professional journalism about professional journalism. And addresses the the move from a big business conglomerate model to a more grass roots return to journalism. Not silly at all.

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Response to pinto (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:49 PM

4. Professional Journalism is an oxymoron

Review the historical record. It has never really existed.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:00 AM

5. So what does Amy Goodman do for a living, or Greg Palast?

Or before them, I.F. Stone or George Seldes?

Or right now, the folks at Alternet or Commondreams or Counterpunch?

Or, I don't know, Scoop or (often, still) the Guardian?

Although I confess, while I am a current newspaper subscriber -- it's only for laughs and the local sports section. (A very good sports section, which unlike the rest of the paper, almost always tell the truth.)

But it hasn't always been that way. When the newly formed United States of America were brand spanking new, government subsidies were provided to newspapers to help defray the cost of publication. Fourth class postage for periodicals and printed matter was meant to educate the electorate, so they wouldn't be so easily swayed by ....Hamiltonian Federalists, who were backed by the One Percent of that day. (It was Thomas Jefferson's idea.) It's still a good idea. Just needs a little tweaking and technical upgrade.

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Response to mojowork_n (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:56 AM

8. Media figures

That journalists were somehow impartial seekers of truth has never been the truth.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:05 AM

9. Hmmmm....

Measured against that yardstick, Diogenes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a cranky and timid little mouse who shook his fist at injustice from inside a dark closet. William Blake and Thomas Paine were noteworthy for scratchings they made on the walls of public toilets. Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson contributed equally to society and the common good, as Don -- "I love George Bush" -- King. And Halle Berry is a little bit attractive, for a no-talent, charmless slattern.

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Response to mojowork_n (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:50 PM

10. With the emergence of web based news, the concept of what is journalism and who is a journalist has

Last edited Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:30 AM - Edit history (1)

been revisited and clarified. The myth of the journalist crusading for truth, with a code of ethics and high standard of integrity has been totally debunked. Anyone with a notebook (dead tree or digital) can call themselves a journalist and claim all of the protections and prerogatives thereof. My colleagues in the School of Journalism talk about professional ethics and standards, yet there is no standard to be a journalist. No tests, licenses, or certification. Just the claim is all one needs.

Yes there have been some outstanding people calling them journalists but for all of them there have also been those like Pegler. Today we have some media talking heads, commentators, and personalities all claiming the mantle. Sure, why not. Its not like there are any real standards for it anyway.



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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:06 AM

13. Politifact.

National franchise but a very wobbly yardstick for the truth.

Whoever writes that mush usually does manage to do an amazing job of staying within the "accepted" (self-censored, if they want to hang on to a pay check?) guidelines for what is mayonnaise on white bread with a side of cottage cheese.

The problem with professional journalism isn't restricted to the writers, or content generators. It's the same one that everyone had at the old Правда. Ownership of the press/media, and the purposes for which news distributions are made. Sell the product but don't rock the boat.

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Response to mojowork_n (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:57 AM

14. The web has really lowered the bar for low cost publication

and the level of censorship done by web hosts is pretty minimal. Crazies of all stripes set up sites and publish what they please. While the ad model has broken down for funding, bandwidth is cheap enough that anyone can have their site and qualify as a journalist.

This drives the old media nuts and in the end will drive the classic newspapers out of business if they do not change their revenue model. Not sure what will emerge, but there is currently excess capacity in journalism schools. Its a clue.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:02 AM

15. PS

It's not always the journalists, capable or not. Sometimes it's where they work.

Our own Bill Clinton cut the ribbon that celebrated the paving of the highway
that steam rollered the media landscape. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 that
consolidated ownership.

The same echoes bleating from the same Mighty Wurlitzer, coast to coast.

Resistance is futile. Look up Webb, Gary or Hedges, Chris for examples of what
can happen to truth-tellers.

http://www.newsmakingnews.com/vm,garywebb,12,014,04intothebuzzsaw.htm

Oops:

Edit to add note that I missed your reply while posting the afterthought. I agree,
there are too many journalists. (With or without sarcastic finger quotes.) And so
many of them will get morphed into PR people -- transcript swallowers and
regurgitators. Almost indistinguishable -- in their official capacities -- from the
majority of journalists tasked with covering the issues/stories.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:25 AM

7. So, what is journalism?

Professional or otherwise?

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Response to pinto (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:51 PM

11. a bad lie?

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:16 AM

16. Brain-Dead Cynicism. (nt)

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Response to Paladin (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:30 AM

17. Another Pegler supporter I see

He even won a Pulitzer...

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 04:07 PM

18. Oh, OK. That clarifies it.

You wrote Quentin, not Westbrook, in the post up thread, RE: Pegler.

The Cal Thomas/Charles Krauthammer/George Will of decades ago.

I suppose you meant to suggest he was held to account, by Quentin
Reynolds, and lost a court case. Which would never happen today.

Except in Britain.

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Response to mojowork_n (Reply #18)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 05:00 PM

19. Actually I was going to cite the case, decided not to, and miseditied it. I have since corrected it

Pegler was once considered a crusading journalist who took on any one. Even won a Pulitzer Prize. However he was nothing more than a demagog, not unlike Hedda Hopper. His loss to Quentin Reynolds was a watershed case. I would consider him more of a Jack Anderson that those you cited. A real muckraker, even in the heyday of yellow journalism.

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:25 AM

6. good citizenship

I don't think so. We can still practice good citizenship without newspapers. We still have television and internet.

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Response to daisiebell (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:51 PM

12. Why does the format/media matter?

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 04:21 AM

22. Format

 

Can affect things like distribution. It's also easier to disseminate false information on the net, but also easier to correct false information.

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:44 AM

20. Good article, but there are 2 conflated issues here

2 issues: (1) changing business models in the media, (2) quality of journalism (both original reporting and commentary). Yes, most newspapers are struggling or closing, and many in the media industry is struggling to reach a viable new business model. Regardless of the business model, journalism (paid or unpaid) has varying levels of quality.

Good citizenship relies on good journalism, not good media industry business models.

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:03 PM

21. only daily media floods the zone

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Response to roseBudd (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 11:51 PM

23. huh!? what does this even mean?

help! i have no idea what "only daily media floods the zone" means.

thanks,

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #23)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:57 PM

24. Sends reporters to cover everything at every city hall, every meeting...

sues for sunshine. We at DU know that the Warren County, Ohio BoE was up to no good because the newspaper in the closest major city sends a reporter to every BoE in a 3 state region.

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Response to roseBudd (Reply #24)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:02 PM

25. Thanks!

I'll add that saying to my vocabulary/phraseology

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Response to jade3000 (Reply #25)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:50 PM

26. Yeah I picked it up in some article about newspapers and how what they do is nothing like...

magazines, bloggers, etc. It is incredibly resource intensive. I work for a newspaper, when I was still part time I continued as a stripper, the bar I worked at got in trouble, had charges of my own, that I thought I could keep secret. You can imagine my chagrin when a reporter called me at home after hearing my name mentioned in my bosses trial in another state. That is flooding the zone.

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