Press Bailouts. Not the way to go.

Boston Globe columnist, Jeff Jacoby, wrote about press bailouts after the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, discussed the value of these bailouts in his recent book, “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open:  A Free Press for a New Century.” In Jacoby’s article, he mentions plans addressed by the Federal Trade Commission.  Many of these plans include moving government money to media outlets.  In my opinion, this is a dangerous step away from free press and toward governmental control of media.  Also, the news is a public service, however, tax payers should not have their money moved to news corporations if they do not plan to utilize the service.  I agree with Jacoby on many aspects of this issue however one sentence is the last paragraph was discouraging.

“Whatever happens to the traditional media, journalism and news delivery will find profitable ways to endure.”

Whatever happens?  Do newspapers and journalists not care about what happens to media today?  Do they not care enough to create effective and innovative media, while maintaining the standard quality and ethics of journalism?

We don’t want the government’s money.  We don’t need it.  We need journalists and news sources to stand up and create new media, not just wait for something to happen.

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Washington Post’s Five Myths

The Washington Post has a really cool section under Opinions entitled Five Myths.  This section is dedicated to beating 5 well-known myths associated with hot topics like gun control and immigration.  While it doesn’t supply a vast amount of information on a topic,  it is great for people who don’t necessarily want to delve deeply into a topic.  If you do, then this a great starting point for that.  Check it out if you have a few free minutes.

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UK’s Guardian FTW

I’ve recently been really interested in reading The Guardian.  It has some interesting articles on its home page that would rarely, if ever, make it to US newspapers.  Also, the site is more visually enthralling and less intimidating than the New York Times.  Just skimming through some stories I found some amazing ledes.  However, several of their pieces could technically fall under “comment” or “opinion”, but nothing a little tweaking couldn’t solve (a few less adjectives that reveal opinions).  One story I read under “comment” addressed the media’s display of crime in England.  It addressed some critical issues with this specific media coverage and with the manipulation of data, statistics and studies.

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Missing the Mark on New Media

As a journalist, something I continually worry about is the future of news media.  Something we’ve all heard about is the death of newspapers, so I don’t need to remind you that new technologies are taking the place of these newspapers.  I recently read an op-ed piece in the New York Times that touched on the fear the public has of new media.

“But such panics often fail basic reality checks. When comic books were accused of turning juveniles into delinquents in the 1950s, crime was falling to record lows, just as the denunciations of video games in the 1990s coincided with the great American crime decline. The decades of television, transistor radios and rock videos were also decades in which I.Q. scores rose continuously.”

While the article was interesting and raised a variety of thought-provoking points, I feel like it missed the mark in some ways.  There is definitely fear in relation to new media, but I believe this fear lies within newspapers and other news companies.  And if not…it should.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, How should we “reinvent” media?, we MUST take big steps toward making media consumption desirable.  But we also CANNOT sacrifice the quality of the news.  While keeping this in mind, I would also like to add that it is almost certain than media consumers may be reluctant to accept this media at first, but we can’t shy away from these advancements.

New media is feared.  It always has been and always will be.  Suck it up.  Work for success.  Move forward.  Save the news.

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