26 September 2005

A Case for Newspapers

In his NY Times column today, David Carr makes a case for the unique value print coverage of the news -- depth:

"The New Orleans story needed the big muscles of print journalism to gain custody of facts that seemed beyond comprehension. People could Google their way through the storm, but for a search engine to really work, you need women and men on the ground asking difficult questions and digging past the misinformation and panic that infect a big story.

"Newspapers are a civic good, especially right now, but they cannot function as a nonprofit. Make all the jokes you want about dead trees, a printed artifact that people pay to read and advertise in is an absolute necessity.

"On television, it always seems like Groundhog Day -- get wet, rinse, repeat. There is undeniably something compelling about Anderson Cooper standing in wind and rain in Galveston at 3 a.m. on Saturday as Rita blew ashore -- 'You feel very much at the edge of the world,' he said, blinking against the rain -- but that does not address the issues of governance, logistics, race and class that the hurricanes reveal. Those are stories newspapers tell well.

"BUT with department stores consolidating both their operations and their advertising and with readers canceling the newspapers that land on their doorstep in favor of more instant gratification on the Web, big newspapers full of deep reporting and serious ambitions seem like dinosaurs at the beginning of a very cold age."


  • I couldn't agree more. The same goes, in spades, for investigative reporting. That's why it's so critical for the publishing industry to come up with revenue models that will pay for the high-quality talent that can go beyond the "Gee, it's really wet during a hurricane" reporting.

    By Blogger Bob Scheier, at 11:37 AM  

  • Amen. That's exactly what we're hoping to do at Federated Media. Thanks for reading!

    By Blogger Chas Edwards, at 9:20 PM  

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