Saturday, March 21, 2009

How do we improve journalism as newspaper advertising and circulation dry up?

Clay Shirky's
Web log focuses on history and future of newspapers realistically

Shirky provides a lot of detail but no solution. However, my reading of some of his essays suggests a partial solution, an action that people who understand the value of trained, dedicated journalists to gather and share facts can take:
People who depend on the Internet for information must pay newspapers in order to support the journalists. Maybe every payment to a newspaper from an online addict should include a note to its publisher something to this effect:
I will buy your paper on condition that you maintain your professional staff of journalists and faze out your printing of your paper only as universal access to its content online comes closer to reality. Because I can use the Internet to read your paper, I will not ask you to deliver a copy to me. But, until everyone has access to your information online, please keep up the effort to print and distribute your paper to those who remain reliant on or addicted to the printed version.
A democratic society and just about everything that is better in our world now than it was 500 years ago is the result of literacy and worldwide access to information.
Volunteer investigators, researchers, reporters, photographers and editors cannot replace the work of trained people paid to do that important work. And the uninformed opinion so happily shared by millions of people online will never become any more valid or useful without an increase in the amount and the quality of professional journalism.
After you read Shirky's blog, visit his main Web site, where endless Internet information, some of it technical, is offered.

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