Journalism as a Dying Trade

I grew up thinking I would be a journalist. Lou Grant, the TV series after Mary Tyler Moore, was a favorite of mine.

Print media is dying, dead, beyond dead… whatever. However, does that mean we have to kill journalism as well?

The internet is a wonderful tool for me because I can access all kinds of viewpoints, but I can also access excellent writing and good journalism.

In my current hometown we have the Startribune. I haven’t read a print edition in years, but even when I did, I much preferred The New York Times. The Startribune doesn’t do journalism very well. Their writers don’t write. They repeat facts. And the facts aren’t always facts.

A great example is today’s news.

I still check up on the Kansas City paper online because I have to see how bad my old KC Royals are doing… but I will occasionally read their news articles because those folks can write. Consider two stories.

THIS ONE is about a Minneapolis cop accused of assault and the assault is caught on video tape. The piece online is incredibly short, though this assault happened about a month ago. Very little detail.

THIS ONE is a tragic story in rural Missouri about a guy high on meth who killed two sisters. It happened just this weekend and the story reads like a crime novel.

Good writing should still be a standard, even if it’s online. We shouldn’t give up on good journalism, but we, as a public, have quit demanding it. We do care for quality. We don’t care for facts. We care about our viewpoints and gathering sources that share our viewpoints.

And good writing is hard to find.

4 thoughts on “Journalism as a Dying Trade

  1. interesting observations. I read both articles you posted. I find the one from Kansas City very good. and the one from the startribune was what it was. so, are both postings not the journalism you are used to seeing? sometimes i can agree with that. As far as the Strib, I can understand that the writing has declined much. but i also understand what the majority of people want to see in print. (for this metro area in minnesota) and what sells the newspaper will determine how something would be written sans real journalism. that could be what is happening here. I can look at the front page headlines from 10 , 15 years ago and compare it to now, and it’s dramatic. and unfortunate. I can also count from said old papers to now, which news was actually written by a staffer or one that was from other sources and we (the strib) used said news and put it in the strib. that is sad too. Yes, newspaper industry is a dying media. I have been at the startribune (in advertising) for 30 years and can vouch for that . I could talk much of the writing and journalism of the startribune. But i can say that the startribune’s website is number 1 here in the cities, and the newspaper alone has won many awards from staffers. so. there it is.

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