The Essentiality of Journalism
Leonard Pitts Jr.
In 2005 when their city drowned, the staff of the
Last month, that paper announced it was cutting staff and suspending daily publication, moving to a three-days-a-week schedule. We draw ever closer to the once-unthinkable day some major American city has no newspaper whatsoever.
All of which lends a certain pungency to something
But these are hardly ordinary times for journalism. So forgive me if I am disinclined to let it go.
As it happens, I spent nearly a week on the
It made me very proud of what we do for a living.
"Every citizen can be a reporter," she says.
No, neither Palin nor her acolytes are to blame for the state of daily newspaper journalism. Rather, the state of daily newspaper journalism only proves English majors should not be allowed to make business decisions. Only English majors could give their product away (i.e., online), then be surprised to see revenues decline.
Palin's sin -- and she is hardly alone in this -- is to consider professional reporters easily replaceable by so-called citizen journalists like Drudge. Granted, bloggers occasionally -- and only occasionally -- originate news. Still, I can't envision
By contrast, my
Will "citizen reporters" replace that function? Will they have the resources, the credibility, the knowledge, the training or even the desire to do so? No.
And not all the arias sung by Palin and like-minded people to new media and the do-it-yourself "journalism" of ideological crank cases will change that. The function served by daily newspaper journalism is critical to the very maintenance of democracy. It's time we recognized that.
I plead guilty to tooting my own profession's horn. Somebody needs to.
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