Fewer mediocre "journalists" is good news
Caught this bit of nonsense on the way home.
Marketplace: No newspapers is bad news Neil Henry: I had no idea the job cuts at the San Francisco Chronicle would be this sudden, this deep, this personal. Some of my former students facing unemployment.
We know what happened: Marvelous search engines like Google with magical new powers to spread news and information. Along the way they've profited enormously.
But for a host of reasons, the actual producers of the Web's news content — the reporters and editors — get very little benefit from this technological marvel.
And so we live in a world of paradox, don't we?
Internet companies provide more news every day, free of charge no less! Yet highly skilled people doing the expensive work of digging, finding and reporting the very best of it are endangered.
It's hard for me not to wonder if corporations like Google feel any tug of civic responsibility. After all, their breathtaking success as news aggregators has sprung indirectly from the fruit of professional journalism.
Few things to me are more vital than journalism practiced according to high standards. Simply put, Google could do much more to protect this public trust: Offer support to journalism education and professional groups dedicated to truth seeking and time-honored ethical values. And assist newspapers directly, just as I think it's time for newspapers to band together to sue to protect content.
Journalism is flourishing to an extent never before seen - it's just not coming from ex-journalism students. The number of people writing in public about topics they know well is far greater than at any time in the past.
By in large "professional journalism" is vastly overrated. Newspapers are primarily in the business of selling advertising. Most of the content that fills up newspapers is frivolous crap. As for "truth seeking and time-honored ethical values" - few stories are carefully researched, well informed, and objective. Most are quickly written by someone with little knowledge of the subject, and little concern for accuracy.
As the Google's "civic responsibility" ... the implicit assumption in this statement is that we are losing something of value. We are not.