Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The collapse of journalism threatens democracy itself...

An article "The Death And Life Of Great American Newspapers" by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney appears in the April 6, 2009 edition of The Nation.

It contains many interesting observations and recommendations.

Here are two excerpts with our comments:

"Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States."

Many of the woes that have befallen our Lancaster community over the past decade are attributable to biased reporting due to special interests and virtual elimination of in depth reporting, causing the public to be misinformed and misguided. The major decisions have largely been debacles. (The worst pertaining to downtown Lancaster.) These 'chickens' in various endeavors are coming home soon to roost. The more NewsLanc learns from behind the scenes, the more concerned we have become.

"Mired in debt and facing massive losses, the managers of corporate newspaper firms seek to right the sinking ship by cutting costs, leading remaining newspaper readers to ask why they are bothering to pay for publications that are pale shadows of themselves. It is the daily newspaper death dance-cum-funeral march."

Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. is not afflicted by debt, but no enterprise - especially one so poorly led - can go on indefinitely if it increasingly loses money. A new generation of business executives - astute ones this time - is needed to lead LNP into the age of paperless journalism via the Internet.

This isn't a matter of further 'dumbing down', but rather paring down to well paid, highly competent journalists who provide in depth coverage and commentary. If they don't, others will! And ownership will likely come from national chains headquartered outside of the region.