Sunday, September 9, 2007

Saving Journalism

Back in the end of 1995, I was interviewing with a top editor at a then-well-regarded major metropolitan newspaper and we got to talking about the Internet, still a pretty new concept. We agreed that newspapers needed to respond; he saw the Internet as the end of newspapers. I said I thought we needed to seize control of the technology, control it before others figured out what to do with it. We were both right, I think, in our own way.

He's long since left the newspaper world, to, I think, teach. I'm stumbling around, trying to figure out how we can still do good journalism and not cave into democratically "edited" web sites whose only authority is how many people link to them. I realize that may sound arrogant. But there has to be a place and a way for experienced reporters and editors to cover the news in an intelligent and useful way. The notion of gatekeeper may be gone, replaced in part by simple corporate ownership. But all the bloggers digging through documents or linking to sites with niche bits of informatio and opinion sites in the world can't replace a Thomas Ricks or a Tina Susman.

Citizen journalism has its place but it's not going to do the full job that having a decently financed news operation in place when needed.

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