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"The Truth May Set You Free" - but when the News is free to read
- do you eventually kill the truth?

It has been the Press that has taken us from being storytellers to
historians and put random events in context with thought provoking  
deeper meanings.

A free and vibrant press and an army of journalists have proven
to be a far more powerful force for freedom than any shot fired or
battlefield won!

But in an age where we get informed by a free link on Twitter or an
inquiry on Google Search - are we still willing to pay for the "Times" and
the "Newsweeks" of the world to educate us? Or, are we willing to risk
paying a much higher price?

The transition of the iconic image of the Newspaper delivery boy being
replaced by a news icon on an Ipad, has threatened the art of journalism
in a way that Richard Nixon couldn't have imagined when "All The President's
Men" were undone by the Press during Watergate or what China does today
with their failed and incessant censorship.

Who would have thought the best way to silence the Press is by having everyone  
else's voices be heard.

Today, it is no longer what to report or not to report... the only boundary
is who reports it first. Whether it be a TMZ or your Aunt Shirley... everyone's
a reporter, but it doesn't mean that everyone is a journalist. You can read
an article about smog or an op-ed by the Wall Street Journal's John Fogg - and all the average reader knows - is that he is not going to pay to read it on your blog!

Unlike newspapers...television continues to make a successful move from an
analog advertising based model to a digital paid subscription format. It has
not been a question of whether money can still be made...but more of who
is going to make the money!

Television advertisers still pay 3 million dollars for a 30 second spot during
the Super Bowl - customers pay the subscription rates they demand or a fee
to watch on the Web.

On the other hand, advertisers have slowly abandoned newspapers with
classified revenue moving to Craigslist and daily coupon sales inundating
Groupon - and customers have resisted paying enough in subscription fees
when there is so much content for free!

According to a recent article in the WSJ - Radio went through a similar period in 1948 of finding the right balance and business model between free now and
pay later, when unionized musicians were no longer being hired to play live on
the radio and went on strike to protest all the free recorded music being played
almost 24 hours a day. No new music was recorded for more than a year until
the radio stations and record companies agreed to pay the musicians royalties
for their recorded music.

Imagine if there were no journalists for a wouldn't mean there was no
news for a year - but it could very well mean that there would be a vast diminishment  
of a search for the truth in the news for that matter how good Aunt
Shirley might be!

There have been discussions in Europe that anytime authored content appears on the
internet that a Google or a website must pay a royalty to the author of that content in
a similar fashion to musicians collecting royalties.

If a Google can only exist because people create content - then sharing the advertising
revenue that content creates a demand for...will probably need to be a part of the
new business model that will allow Newspapers and journalists to survive.

As the industry searches for answers there have been casualties along the way. The New Orleans daily newspaper, The Times-Picayune, is now printing only 3 days a week and the larger Cleveland Plains Dealer may not be far behind. The venerable New York Times has sold off assets in order to pay creditors. The Chicago Tribune is coming out of bankruptcy, and Rupert Murdoch closed down his expensive online experiment called "The Daily".

Newspapers and journalists have become an integral a part of our democracy by being
the very defender of the democracy that it reports on! Maybe it's time we work hard
at defending them!

It would be a shame that we rally around "Big Bird" but we stay silent on the guys who
keep an eye on "Big Government".

Otherwise we might be insuring that newspapers will be performing for itself the vital
function that it still does on a daily basis for everyone else...the writing of its own obituary!!!

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Comment Preferences

  •  What journalists? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frostbite, DaveCaswell, The Dead Man

    Journalists have taken a backseat to pundits. Cable news is nearly all pundits.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:22:03 PM PST

    •  The MSM is not a free press (4+ / 0-)

      Large corporation and the super rich have taken over most of the media in the USA. These relatively-new owners decide what will be news worthy and the spin that will accompany each event. The reporting of real news has been replace by a spin on all news. The more we watch TV the more ignorant we are.

      For many years, I was a big fan of newspapers. I still subscribe to a daily, and I also subscribe to at least a half-dozen magazines. The integrity of the news reporting in newspaper has gone down, but newspaper reporting is superior to TV. Print might have a difficult future, but it will survive because TV is so bad.

      War is costly. Peace is priceless!

      by frostbite on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:37:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

      It's a problem that predated the Internet.

  •  newspapers will have to report again (0+ / 0-)

    you might have noticed that newspapers will selectively report, based on their politicial and financial leanings.

    In addition, many newspapers have cut back of their staffs and are relying on AP or Reuters.

    It's a bad spiral for them. They are losing readership so they can't charge as much for advertising, so they're cutting back which is making them lose even more readers.

  •  You are conflating (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar, annecros, The Dead Man

    the medium with the profession. Journalism can and does happen every bit as well in a pixel based format as with a print based one.

    I get the impression that you don't much like the internet and are attaching lots of baggage to that fact.

    •  The trend away from paying is real. (0+ / 0-)

      Investigative journalism is slow and labor-intensive. It was always hard to get media outlets to pay for it, and that was the same problem for glowing-phosphor media as it was for ink-based media.

      Getting it paid for now, when subscriptions are rare and advertising money flows to Google, is even harder.

  •  traditional print "news" media contains... (0+ / 0-)

    too much editorializing.  Even when it's not in the opinion section.  And then there was this.

    Further, I believe it is possible for Aunt Shirley to be a great journalist.  I often come to places like DKos for deeper factual analysis and evidenced based opinions.  Yes, most often they are opinions but good reports are backed up by facts - something in short supply in traditional print.  (Print IMO trends toward he said she said reporting.)  I also like that the comments provide a peer review of sorts.

    Journalism will persevere even if it changes forms.

    •  That triggers a thought (0+ / 0-)

      Everyone is, theoretically, taught to write in school.

      It's a cliche to say that in the Internet era, everyone is a journalist.

      Should everyone take classes in how to do legwork, how to cultivate a source, and how to size up a claim?

  •  I don't pay a whole (0+ / 0-)

    Lot of attention to the "blogger vs. traditional" media argument. I see too many diaries here that tout Breaking News, when the source is almost always traditional media. These reporters work hard at their craft, but so do Internet reporters and bloggers.

    The fact that print media is losing readership is a generational thing. Newspapers all have websites and different ways to deliver content. But their survival is based on circulation numbers, and their overhead is burdensome compared to totally Internet operations.

    If newspapers go away, it will be for the same reasons that other obsolete products have bit the dust. I love newspapers, but it's not the only place I go for news.

    The only worry I have is that, if newspapers no longer exist, who is going to invest in that on the ground reporting that always has yielded the best stories.

    I see newspapers falling away faster than the Internet reporters and bloggers can fill the void.

    But, I only half agree that newspapers brought Nixon down. Deep Throat did that. And as long as we have the First Amendment, sources will be protected whether they choose to inform a print reporter or blogger.

    If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball! - Rip Torn ("Dodgeball")

    by cka on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:38:58 PM PST

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