May 8, 2009

Journalism is fine, David

David Simon, former journalist for the Baltimore Sun and creator of HBO's the Wire, has been sounding the alarm recently on the future of investigative journalism and government transparency in a post-newspaper age. He feels that "new media" outfits, along with bloggers and citizen journalists, simply can't do the same job as old-fashioned newspaper reporters who are dedicated to their beat.

Or as he puts it, "The day I run into a Huffington Post reporter at a Baltimore zoning board hearing is the day I will no longer be worried about journalism."

Yet is Simon's criticism valid? Gawker's Ryan Tate doesn't think so:

I found this argument odd, because as a newspaper reporter who spent a few years covering a town much like Baltimore — Oakland, California — I often found that bloggers were the only other writers in the room at certain city council committee meetings and at certain community events. They tended to be the sort of persistently-involved residents newspapermen often refer to as "gadflies" — deeply, obsessively concerned about issues large and infinitesimal in the communities where they lived.

You can read Tate's essay for more examples of "new media" doing the job of "old media" just fine.

Like it or not, how Americans' consume the news is changing. Gone are the days of the Big Three news networks and newspaper readership being assumed. Now, people watch their news on a comedy network and sip their morning coffee while watching twitter hashtags and browsing blogs from across the political spectrum. People may be consuming news differently, but that doesn't mean they aren't consuming it.

(Thanks New York Times)