Off the record: the decay of old-world journalism

Defending legacy news organizations by pointing out the shortcomings of new media outlets is like an an old farmer trying to justify his failing crops by comparing his harvest to the first plant of the young city folk who moved in down the road: the old farmer has had longer to try to get it right.

Legacies such as the New York Times and Washington Post should know better by now, and yet, they—like journalists from lesser-famed news sources and just as bloggers (both pajama-wearing and office-attired)—don’t seem to have a compass of journalism principles to guide them.

Perhaps this is the Decline and Fall of 20th-Century Journalism, and we’ve just been experiencing media decadence, which will hasten the end of old-world journalism and usher in the dawn of a new era of information sharing.

Look no further than the past week to see the evidence of old-journalism decay:

As the Washington Post‘s Jim Hoagland put it in his worthy piece, Long Winter for the Media,

Access to the Internet gives the generations living today the choice to be the best-informed, or the worst-informed, human beings in history — but we will never be able to claim that we were the least-informed. Celebrity, slime and crude polemics pour from the electronic faucets as easily as high-minded exegeses.

Where are the leaders of the information and media revolution to guide the straying generations living today to ethical, interesting and correct information?


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