Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Journalism's Forced March

Early on, "Journalism" adopted this mantra: “Give comfort to the afflicted by afflicting the comfortable.” Journalism has been democracy’s watchdog.
You could argue that they fell down on the job during the run-up to the Iraq War, but that’s for DailyKos and others to debate. Still, there’s no getting around the fact that trust in the Mainstream Media (MSM) is at an all time low. Meanwhile, as has been discussed, traditional journalism is coming under siege from ever-more-qualified producers from the world of Consumer Generated Content (CGM).

If CGM supplants the traditional news media, it will likely start with the “soft stuff” – highly localized news; celebrity spotting and gossip; sports reporting – the content that is accessible to the layman.

One unassailable strategy for MSM's survival will come via a “forced march” to its Revolutionary-era roots as the gadflies to the powerbrokers. While “citizen journalists” assume responsibility for fluffy and micro-targeted editorial, MSM can once again become “journalists for the citizenry.” Think about it: Joe Blogger ain’t getting invited to no White House Press Conference. He isn’t going to lobby the CIA for documents via the Freedom of Information Act. If he is like most Americans, he doesn’t know the name of his mayor, much less his Congressman.

Meanwhile, the MSM's reporters have the credentials, resources, and privileged access required to bring us investigative reporting that must not only be HIGH VALUE (exclusive) but also LEGITIMATE (reputation is everything) and, CONTROVERSIAL (to sell advertising).
High value, legitimate, controversial reporting in the service of the citizenry will drive more traffic and trackbacks to their sites (profit); it will help MSM continue to drive the conversation (clout); and, it will hopefully produce a more ethical ruling class.

Benjamin Franklin would have been a great blogger.


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