The press isn’t providing what the public desperately needs — news that matters

newsRemember my post here, regarding Press Reform in Malawi?

Well, consider this article here, titled ‘The press isn’t providing what the public desperately needs — news that matters’ that presents an all too common perspective over what we regard as the news. It’s written by one Dr. Denny Wilkins, and in this case, the field of concern is the US Press/ Media and Journalism sector.

A few snipets from the article are worth replicating on here:

The news in print dailies just isn’t done as well and as often these days as in the past. Print journalism just doesn’t do it for us any more. Yes, I know — newspapers companies have “news” websites. We could go there, I suppose. But who are the reporters writing for? You and me? Or the editors and publishers who want to see clicks and more clicks on stories….But the newspaper industry’s managers have largely abandoned journalism as a calling and replaced it with “content” as lowest common denominator for the masses. They assume we only react, that we no longer have the capacity to think. 

The artificial and inept news stories masquerading as objectivity serve none of us well in understanding all these issues in their full context. Newspapers (and they’re better than cable news) offer too many “he-said, she-said” stories. Too many one-source stories. Too much “false equivalence.” Too many “sources told me” stories. This summer, an ESPN reporter actually began a breathlessly intoned report like this: “I just spoke with a friend of Melo’s …” Really? Who was the friend? What was his or her relationship with NBA forward Carmelo Anthony? Why was the friend granted anonymity? That kind of reporting pervades today’s journalism — and too few of us protest this slipshod, careless, mindless attitude subverting an honorable craft.

The newsroom traits I learned as a working journalist in the ’70s and ’80s — fairness, balance, comprehensiveness, objectivity — retain their value for me. But, as I approach senility, objectivity as practiced today has become a sinecure behind which newsroom managers hide. (And don’t tell me reporters are doing too many stories under onerous deadlines because too few reporters exist these days to carry the load. That excuse has lost currency.)

Who can argue with that?


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