Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Commentary: Cart or Horse?

by Sam Mela

From the New York Times Editorial Notebook comes a piece titled "When the Watchdogs Don’t Bark", by Maura J. Casey,December 30, 2008.

According to Ms. Casey
The Tribune Company’s troubles are in good part because of the large debt Samuel Zell incurred when he bought the business. But the economic downturn and the Internet’s inroads on print advertising have taken a toll on all newspapers.
She notes that:
. . . less coverage of loopholes in Connecticut’s campaign financing law; few have investigated why Connecticut is burdened with the highest electricity rates in the continental United States . . . It’s hard to see what would fill the void when its newspapers die.
She finally concludes:
If the power of journalism is measured by its ability to spark anxiety in government officials, it’s hard to imagine a more relaxing time to hold public office.

Because so many printed newspapers are stopping delivery and going out of business, we're seeing a lot of commentary by professional journalists like Ms. Patton wondering what we will do without "the news".

My question -- what did we do for the last 20 years?

Many of us believe that professional journalism has been dead for a long time. We think that 2008 just happens to be the year when we bury the stinking body to clear a path for whatever fresh capitalist energies emerge to fill the news void.

Lately, all newspapers seem to do is print the same news in the morning that you saw on the internet the night before. This is value? This drives the public discourse?

We've contacted the NY Times for a response from Ms. Casey.


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