The death of journalism.

We are told that journalism is dying. It was supposed to have chronicled centuries. Journalism, as we knew it, was born in the 19th Century, came to fruition in the 20th Century and is staging an ugly despairing death in the 21st Century. Canadians bear witness to this death on a daily basis and pay little heed.

But they will miss it when it is gone. Broadcast media can never replace true journalism. Print on a screen or paper is the medium that best enables the citizen to select and self-edit the content. It is the ability to select content that measures the journalist’s effort. The provocative headline and the arresting photograph help but it is the reverse pyramid of a reporter’s skill that draws you through the information. And it will be in our quest for information and for truth that we will mourn the passing of journalism.

And we have no trust in what seems to be replacing it. Newspapers of today are a lost cause. Fewer newspaper owners with narrowed biases are replacing the altruism of the journalist as newspaper publishing returns to the partisan politics of its origins. The newspapers that are left are in a race with bankruptcy as fewer advertising dollars are swept up by newer, more aggressive media.

Despite the hype, the Internet cannot save journalism. It is like a trunk sewer collecting and drawing the good, the bad, the flotsam and the bouquets along in the growing torrent. And you can hardly expect untested blogs to replace true journalism. The journalist needs time, expenses, sources and access to deliver what he or she and maybe you will recognize as the truth. And there are many truths to be told.

Each of us who uses the Internet as our soapbox challenges the truth. We are burdened with our biases too. We are but the blind discovering the elephant. We take our limited view and give an opinion. Only you can decide.

Broadcast has been providing a bridge for journalism but it is a weak and biased bridge as the news vehicles drive by the news in their rush to fill the next hour’s feeding cycle.

The era of the news magazine has been challenged with the immediacy of radio. And television creates magazine style news. We have lots of information today and never enough hard news.


Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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