Friday, October 23, 2009

The job of a journalist???

We seem to have a hard time as people balancing things. We don't want people to be rude or say things that are socially unacceptable. However, we get upset when people are too PC (politically correct). And all sorts of other complaints factor in, often resorting to stereotypes. Why do we rely so heavily on stereotypes and how, in any fashion, is anyone supposed to remain unbiased with all of the stereotypes we all carry around?

We want so much from our journalists these days - perfection really. But in so many other areas we're ok with shallow, weak, easy and cliche. Why don't we hold others to a similar standard: advertisers, businesses, teachers, etc,..... Are they all unbiased? Do we call them out when they're not? Should everyone try to do better? Should everyone try to stop relying so heavily on petty biases?

I'm not sure I have the answers. Maybe without our stereotypes, there would be more problems. I just wonder sometimes why people can get so worked up in one area and seemingly not care in others.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NY Times cuts

Today, I read this from Reuters:

The New York Times said on Monday it would cut 100 newsroom jobs through buyouts or layoffs as it tries to counter lost advertising revenue.
This is the second time in little more than a year that the Times has sought to reduce its newsroom staff. In 2008, the newspaper cut 100 newsroom jobs.
Earlier this year, it cut salaries by 5 percent.
The newspaper has 1,250 editorial employees, down from 1,330, the Times reported on its website. It said no other U.S. newspaper has more than about 750 journalists.

Bottom line, the giant in our country - and arguably the world - is struggling. I don't think it means ALL newspapers are struggling. Many smaller papers in our country are better equipped to deal with financial difficulties - less competition, less debt within the business, and more loyal local readership. However, when something like this is announced it deserves our attention as an industry.

Newspaper's role

The business of producing a newspaper is hurting in a bad way. I make no qualms about that. However, that fact is not a reflection on the important work of journalists. In many ways, I believe newspapers went too far following industry trends over the last two decades:
- Too much online (free)
- Too much pandering to what reader's "want"
Those are two examples. How can a business succeed financially when the content is offered free elsewhere? Second, who cares if readers say they want to read about American Idol and Brittany Spears updates? Journalists have long reported what reader's "need" to know - that needs to remain the emphasis for any future of newspapers.