I am leaving for the University of Maryland to participate in a Knight Center for Specialized Journalism seminar on the economy. This crash course on the financial crisis and its impact on families and communities is welcome news.
But sometimes no news is good news, particularly if the news is provided courtesy of a government bailout.
Soon-to-be former Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks recently wrote:
If we’re willing to use taxpayer money to build roads, pay teachers and maintain a military; if we’re willing to bail out banks and insurance companies and failing automakers, we should be willing to part with some public funds to keep journalism alive too.
The legacy media conflate news with newspapers. News is a socially constructed category. Publishers bundle together different stories, information, e.g., weather, sport scores and stock prices, and ads. But as noted in the Wall Street Journal:
City newspapers are no longer the dominant way people get news or the main way advertisers reach consumers.
Old Media Public Enemy No. 2, Arianna Huffington, wrote:
As you’ll see, for me the key question is whether those of us working in the media (old and new) embrace and adapt to the radical changes brought about by the Internet or pretend that we can somehow hop into a journalistic Way Back Machine and return to a past that no longer exists and can’t be resurrected.
The great upheaval the news industry is going through is the result of a perfect storm of transformative technology, the advent of Craigslist, generational shifts in the way people find and consume news, and the dire impact the economic crisis has had on advertising. And there is no question that, as the industry moves forward and we figure out the new rules of the road, there will be -- and needs to be -- a great deal of experimentation with new revenue models.
Legacy media say without them, there would be no investigative reporting. Tell that to the voiceofsandiego.org, an online news outlet that investigated a real estate swindle that fueled the state's foreclosure crisis.
Huffington told MSM nemesis Jeff Jarvis:
In the two biggest stories of our recent time—the war in Iraq and our financial meltdown—investigative journalism did not fulfill its mission. We all have a real stake in not only preserving what investigative journalism is but in making it better.