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.