"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bye, buy newspapers

Most older journalists seem to think they can operate like the old days, when information was not readily accessible and other writers' works were easy to plagiarize. Back then, subscribers and readers were more ignorant and sometimes it took years for the truth to be discovered and corrected in inaccurate news stories.

I am pleased to inform you good ole boys that those days are over. Information is flowing fast and furious and much too quickly for that printing press to keep up. We can get our information and get it updated many times before your hard copy hits the front porch. Hundreds or thousands of versions of a news story are available on line where we can read, watch and hear every biased viewpoint imaginable.

Newspapers argue that they print the truth through in-depth investigation and reporting, but we all know that everything ever written is a reflection of the author's (and/or editor's) bias or prejudice. Paid journalists put a slant on their subject matter as much as any blogger ranting in his underwear at the computer (By the way, that description of bloggers came directly from a newspaper publisher). Editors and publishers pick the stories most favorable to their own viewpoints, no better or worse than any blogger.

The best thing about this boundless information era is that it is so much easier and faster to eke out the truth of what is happening in the world. We don't need local, regional or even national newspapers to tell us. If we hear some news, we can get in-depth front line reporting by reading a variety of opinions, assessments, and theories from bloggers in that locale. We can opt to read numerous on-line news services, but we can also watch real time videos and view photos from ordinary people experiencing the event as it happens. With so much information from so many different sources, there is no way to hide the truth behind a story.

There will always be a need for news and writers. It's just that evolution in media has changed so rapidly that newspaper people are still stuck in the clouds of dust left behind by the new reporters who just happen to be you and me and everyone else in the world.

This is exactly what pure freedom of speech and information is all about. The newspapers should be celebrating that this day has finally arrived.


Lori Stewart Weidert said...

My view on the media has changed a lot in the last couple of years. Our story has been told many times in the paper and on tv, usually with an error here or there, and a couple of times with a spin I hadn't expected. Nothing I couldn't live with.

What I haven't written about yet was being completely ambushed by a re-take by a very large national news show. Ground rules were ignored and I was prompted to state a complete lie just as they put me on the air. I was stunned, did not lie, and was interrupted, cut off, and hung up on.

I watch awkward news interviews with a grain of salt now, and often wonder if that stuttering interviewee isn't someone that's just been taken offguard.

Not about newspapers, I know, but I get to rambling.

Crockhead said...

Excellent post. Many years ago, when I was a newspaper reporter, I was on a panel in which I admitted that newspaper reporters are not objective, and many times inaccurate. No matter how conscientious a reporter may think he/she is, by the quotes we use or don't use, by the stories we choose to highlight and the ones we choose to ignore, we are giving a skewed version of reality. The other reporters on the panel about jumped down my throat. That's not something reporters are supposed to admit. Nevertheless, I will miss paper newspapers. They have been such an important part of my life for so long.

Rhea said...

I'm an older journalist but I also love life online. I will miss the Boston Globe (the paper I read daily) if it goes under. It is not doing great right now.