Newspapers or journalists or both….what worth in today’s world?

“today there appears to be less independence in the media, less sense of outrage at abuses of power. Journalists of the baby boomer generation who were anti-establishment back then are old and more passive now, co-opted if you like. And the business has changed. In the 24-hour news cycle, the pressure is to move on to the next story without due diligence on the one that just happened.” From the Globe and Mail, “Has the fourth estate lost its tenacity?”

With the odd exception, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph and a few articles and journalists in other papers, most financial sections of your average national newspaper are a waste of time reading.  

What do most papers seem to do? Well, on the one hand, they report events.  The trouble is there are so many sources, easily accessible on the web, providing data and reporting events.  Much information is now free available. 

Papers (should) also question the status quo and hold it to account via investigative journalism and editorial.  But, l must admit to being underwhelmed, in general, by investigative journalism in the years leading up the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007 and most financial commentary period.  

With the large number of blogs available, in many instances from very able and experienced individuals, why bother limiting yourself to an often too quickly put together article, written for dummies or for the masses, when you can access viewpoints with often greater perspective and voice elsewhere?   Precisely! 

Even the editorials, well, a well read knowledgeable individual with internet access could come up with something just as detailed and knowledgeable.   

I have always been a believer in the importance of newspapers, but I think many have lost their way.   The fourth estate has moved on, its mantle and its indignation assumed by others, the widening media of the web. 

So the frontier has been pushed out and the press has not moved out with it!  Where does the press lie in this new universe, and remember, the press should be an independent and objective as possible voice, that questions everything?  

The blogosphere is the new and vibrant voice, the nucleus of an expanding membrane, fed and nurtured by the web, the cytoplasm, and this voice, which is a multitude of diversity, changes all the time.  And, of course, the tweet is not the voice, but a messenger of sorts. 

Today’s papers need to rethink and to reengineer and to ask themselves how can they push themselves back onto the pedestal of relevance and trust.   It is a difficult one given that their revenue (advertising) comes from the same status quo they are meant to be holding accountable.   Will, therefore, the fourth estate re-emerge form a different quarter?  Will a new fourth estate struggle forth from the evolution of the internet and social media?  Will the financial constraints and imperatives of an empire in decline prevent today’s papers from emerging from the ashes? 

Also from the Guardian What is the future of the fourth estate?

I can think of lots of positive examples where all kinds of valuable and exciting “journalistic” things are happening a) on their own in this space, and b) in combination with conventional journalism. More are always welcome, but I am broadly convinced that this is a new and powerful force in society and in the emerging news ecosystem.

Also The Fourth Estate in a Digital Democracy The Paley Center For Media

“You can turn of the public internet, but you cannot turn off the internet public..”

“…a bias in the press to stick with the status quo…”

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