TITLE

Reversing the Trend Away From Journalism

AUTHOR(S)
Hume, Ellen
PUB. DATE
December 2004
SOURCE
Nieman Reports;Winter2004, Vol. 58 Issue 4, p62
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article reflects on trends concerning the state of journalism in the information technology age. Audiences flee to the blogosphere and talk shows, where the discussions seem more candid and, therefore, honest, seducing audiences by confirming their prejudices. The passion for attitude plays well in the attention economy, but it is bad for news. Journalists become no different than salesmen and jesters, except they are usually less amusing. Real journalism will recover, but only if its supporters take action. To win back people who want to know what's really going on, journalists need to return to what they do best: providing verified information that is comprehensive and proportionate. News outlets also need to get more credit when they do this; even their best work is often taken for granted by those who pay close attention or dismissed by those who do not. It is time to launch a public education campaign and take back the phrases fair and balanced and no spin from those who claim them but do just the opposite. The rise of FactCheck.org is evidence that journalism can morph into new formats and succeed at its core task of holding the powerful accountable and providing access for citizens to information they need. But it is a nonprofit operation. Most journalism cannot enjoy that protection. Mainstream journalists often confront market-driven executives who demand cross-promotion of entertainment products by their news divisions. Niche markets might be journalism's best hope even if news balkanization is not good for democracy.
ACCESSION #
15509045

 

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