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MommyTime

You are my hero articulate.

Audubon Ron

Damn it, I agree. No really, public figures are in the public eye. They can't sue you for thorough investigation. As a person who works closely with elected officials, I say too bad, they are held at a higher standared or don't run. If we close down effective reporting, we close down the windows to the truth.

That's what they signed up for. I for one, have a milk toast politically influenced paper. I know that and why. Where are the hard reporters? They are paid squat and beaten about the eyebrows by the editor. "Oh no, we can't be that hard, now can we? After all, it might get us sideways with the powers at be." I say, 1% sales tax to fund newspapers so they can remain untarnished.

Audubon Ron

...and also, fuck the 800 word rule. A reporter can't tell the story in 800 words.

nthnglsts

Beyond me that the newspapers let a simple change in delivery systems turtle the whole industry. News is still there, so are journalists. Everyone else has gone paperless and survived. What? You can only have a real newspaper with PAPER? TV was a bigger threat than the internet and you weathered that. An attorney i work with reminds that buggy whip makers only went out of business because they forgot they were not in the buggy whip business, they were in the acceleration business. You are still in the NEWS business. Get it together news people. There's no crying in reporting!

Suburban Kamikaze

You don't need paper necessarily, but you do need readers. And when the readers go to places where the "news" is recycled, gossip-heavy fact-bites thrown together by people who never make a phone call, let alone leave their laptops, then the business model for doing first-hand, shoe-leather reporting on matters of public import starts to look bad.

Ruth

And you need a way to pay those hardworking, reporters slogging through all the crap to get to the news. Imagine Watergate if there was no one to pay Woodward and Bernstein, they would have been reporting on the latest gossip from Hollywood (instead of) the sinister rumors from the White House and Nixon would be just a quaint bumbling President from the 70's. For those of you willing to get all your news from the Internet just remember your news will be geared towards a 13-year-old girl with lavender nail polish. You deserve it.

Sue

I started a subscription to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel several months ago after email discussion with one of the reporters who worked on their "Wasted in Wisconsin" series. Seems the paper has publicly committed to devote serious resources (people!) to investigative journalism. You're right; reporters can do the good work but people have to be willing to be engaged by it. And since my elected State representative is a moron, I need to support a newspaper that will publish whether and how he responds to questions about killer issues like drunk driving. (Answer: he doesn't.)

Sue

Oh, and while I'm at it - one of the big cable news channels at noon was talking about the "big void" left by Billy Mays. They had trouble working this story in among the Michael Jackson speculation stories.

Jennifer A

Stop by Westmont CUSD 201 sometime. We just got the superintendent's contract released two and a half years after the first FOIA request was submitted. Because same thing, he thought it was a private contract but mine and a lot of other people's taxes pay his salary. The district's law firm paid something like $30K to keep the contract secret.
Thank god for a group of parents who never gave up and the local paper or we would never have learned about his contract. It still probably would have been a secret.

nthnglsts

I still say news is news and journalists need to figure out how to get it out and get paid for it. All internet news isn't bad and isn't blog. Deal. Paper isn't coming back; newspapers aren't coming back, not for now anyway. Brand new world. It was as far back as 1985 but the Newspapers are just noticing. Just like GM just noticed they weren't making cars anyone wanted. Ford, who did not need a handout, actually makes cars people buy....

Suburban Kamikaze

A key difference: (unintentional pun, but now I really want to take credit for it...)
Newspapers, unlike automobile makers, have an obligation to serve as the public's watchdogs, even if the public would rather read Jon & Kate's divorce pleadings. It's expensive and time consuming - qualities the Internet business model does not currently reward. That's not to say someone won't figure out how to do it - I just don't think our national addiction to the celebrity soundbite is much of an incentive.

Suburban Kamikaze

Jennifer - What an unbelievable story - parents had to fight to see not only the superintendent's contract, but the goals the district had set for him. What else is none of your business in that school district, I wonder? Keep up the good work.

Here's a link to a good local paper doing its job (and a local school board not doing theirs):

http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/westmont/news/x2085754784/Superintendent-s-contract-goals-released-by-district?popular=true

MomZombie

Journalism has to reinvent itself and get out of the gossip peddling business. The public has to place a value on ethical, worthwhile reporting. Right now I fear the majority do not place value on it. Two words: citizen journalist.

nthnglsts

"Google doesn’t kill newspapers. People kill newspapers." -- Michael Connelly, May 20, 2009 (requoted from Vickie Brennan's FB page)

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