How to Save Journalism?

Have you read John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney’s article at The Nation about How to Save Journalism? You should.

In it, they discuss different federal agencies and the work they have been doing in examining the problems in our nation’s newsrooms. Each agency has undergone investigations and have been discussing proposals that may help the newspaper industry. Within the next few weeks the FTC is going to hold hearings to figure out what they can do to eliminate the shrinking number of jobs there are at newspapers.

 In the third paragraph the authors bring up a great point, one that I’m surprised and annoyed that no one else has brought up before.

the way the challenges facing journalism are being discussed, indeed the way the crisis itself is being framed, will make it tough for even the most sincere policy-makers to offer a viable answer to it.

The authors point to the language used in many of these conferences and how the entire industry is being framed as obsolete because of the internet.

The FTC’s conference is titled “How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?” FCC chair Julius Genachowski explains the crisis as the result of “game-changing new technologies as well as the economic downturn.” The assumption is clear: it’s the Internet that’s the problem. But just as MTV’s debut pronouncement that “Video Killed the Radio Star” proved to be dramatically overstated, so is the notion that journalism’s disintegration can be attributed to a brand-new digital revolution or even an old-fashioned economic meltdown.

Another interesting section chronicles the downfall of newspapers predating the surge in popularity of the internet. This hasn’t previously been discussed and really sheds some light on what has gone wrong.



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