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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is Journalism a Profession?

Years ago a professor taught me that journalism, as a profession was limited to the central part and latter days of the 20th century. His reasons lie in the fact that while calling themselves a profession there were not standards or checks and balances found in other professions. Freedom also leads to the ability to manipulate, change and even practice without any repercussion. His predictions in the mid 1970's were a decline in the pay, number and outlets for balanced professional journalism while a geometric or even faster increase in outlets for those who have an ax to grind, feel they are the keepers of the truth, or who have a vested financial interests in manipulation. He predicted that ratings, popularity, entertainment and the ability to make people mad or get them fired up would win over reporting the truth through any sort of professional filter.

Where are the test, accreditation, minimum education requirements, apprenticeships or other methods on a supervised honing of the craft given today's economy and the publics greed for scandal, ammunition to hate or mistrust others and to be mushrooms living in a cocoon where events on the other side of the world are of no importance unless they impact our pocketbooks where we live and work?

Can any form of trust in the media and in journalist be restored as long as we have a profit, ratings or subscription, hits or direct response capitalistic system for determining what is news?

What will happen to our free society if the fourth estate disappears or is trusted far less than the society and government they are expected to report on and watch in our interests?

And, who will pay for it all, for what motive and to what impact?

-Art Lynch

Posted 1-26-12

Use the, and life, are visual

"I think the cinema you like has more to do with silence, and the theater you like has more to do with language."

— Ben Kingsley

The Future History of the Newspaper Industry

FCC report on media warns of decline in quality local news

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission warned that the "independent watchdog function that the founding fathers envisioned for journalism" is at risk in local communities across the country.
GENACHOWSKIIn a 475-page report released Thursday titled, "The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age," the government regulatory agency, which has oversight over television and radio as well as certain aspects of the Internet, said there is a "shortage of local, professional, accountability reporting" that could lead to "more government waste, more local corruption," "less effective schools" and other problems.
"The less quality reporting we have, the less likely we are to learn about government misdeeds,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement released with the report.
A topic of discussion in the report is the Los Angeles Times' coverage of the abuses by the city administration in Bell. Although the Pulitzer-Prize winning efforts of The Times exposed the corruption, it went on for years before getting noticed.
“A lot of residents tried to get the media’s attention, but it was impossible,” community activist and teacher Christina Garcia told the FCC. “The city of Bell doesn’t even have a local paper; no local media of any sort.”
Indeed, the FCC noted that The Times covers almost 100 municipalities and 10 million residents. David Lauter, Metro editor of The Times, is quoted as saying that his staff is “spread thinner and there are fewer people on any given area.... We’re not there every day, or even every week or every month. Unfortunately, nobody else is either.”
Local TV is singled out in the report for not covering important issues enough. Alhough the number of hours of local news has increased over the last few years, too few stations "are investing in more reporting on critical local issues," the report said. Furthermore, the report said that although stations may be adding newscasts, they are doing it with fewer reporters.
Even with the additional newscasts, the stories often focus on crime and the reason for that has more to do with with how cheap it is to cover crime stories than it does viewer demand.
While the report, which was originally to be titled "The Future of Media," said there has been an explosion of media platforms because of the growth of digital platforms, at the same time there has been a decline in quality as a result of the same technology boom.
"As technology offered consumers new choices, it upended traditional news industry business models, resulting in massive job losses," the FCC said.
The result has been "gaps in coverage that even the fast-growing digital world has yet to fill." Although the digital media may someday can fill the void left by diminishing traditional media, "at this moment the media deficits in many communities are consequential."
-- Joe Flint
Photo: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.