The de-newspaperization of America is finally catching up with the de-industrialization of America. Newsroom jobs, especially decent paying ones, are vanishing everywhere—thanks to the shrinking number of print readers and the fact that digital advertising can’t fully support digital journalism. But the job losses seem to be coming faster—and the effect on the fabric of already struggling communities is far greater—in the rusty, rotting-factory cities of older America.Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch, discussing the ongoing cuts facing the newspaper industry. Today’s ground zero? The Cleveland Plain Dealer, where as many as 50 people lost their jobs, finding out via phone if they were the ones. The Plain Dealer recently helped surface a major national story—the rediscovery of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who went missing for nearly a decade—and Bunch expresses concern that the next story like that might stay under the radar.
It helps to envision modern journalism as a kind of video game. If you’re part of the Internet media, everything you put out into the world comes with its own scoring system. Tweets are counted by retweets and favorites, stories are scored by page views and Facebook likes. A writer’s reach and influence is visible right there, in the number of his followers and the number of “influencers” who subscribe to his or her feed. If you’re wondering why so many writers and journalists from such divergent backgrounds would feel the need to instantly tweet out unconfirmed information to their followers, all you have to do is think of the modern Internet reporter as some form of super RedditorShould Reddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of a Smear? - NYTimes.com (via brooklynmutt)
thatssoproblematic says: In reference to the Sid Bedingfield quote, isn't it possible that the backlash against CNN's coverage of the George Zimmerman case is in and of itself racially motivated? We're talking about a station that covered Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony just as much, but it's only now that they're catching flack for covering trials? Of course, CNN's coverage has been very poor, but I can't help but feel as if the largely white mainstream journalism community doesn't see why the GZ case warrants coverage.
» SFB says: I strongly disagree with race being the root cause of the backlash in this case. For one thing, the thing that got them talking was Egypt: Sid Bedingfield’s comments were in direct response to Jay Rosen, a NYU professor and very prominent critic of CNN, saying that he had given up on the network entirely after spending a long period of time criticizing the network for numerous reasons. The Zimmerman thing is only the latest example of a long line in Rosen’s case. And while Bedingfield’s quote criticized the tabloid treatment of a case rooted in a racial issue, Rosen’s criticism didn’t touch this at all—in fact, his point was rooted in the fact a pretty major story, the Egyptian coup, was getting downplayed in the corner while the Zimmerman coverage continued. (The fact that CNN has a sister network it could throw the Zimmerman coverage to, HLN, is also a factor here.)
I think the Trayvon case is an important one and deserved the surfacing it received, but beating people over the head with the story, like CNN is, does nothing but damage the value of the conversation we have about it. It turns a case about real issues into another Casey Anthony case, a case a lot of people I know actively ignored because of media oversaturation.
It forces people with skin in the game and real things to add to the conversation to tune out. And it does a disservice to all the things that need to be said about the case. That was Bedingfield’s point—that CNN isn’t giving a sensitive story the care it deserves by treating it like Jodi Arias 2.0. And to me, that’s a significantly more important criticism to be made here—one, by the way, that courtrooms could solve in large part by getting rid of the cameras. — Ernie @ SFB