News & the new: Does Chrysler=Newspapers?

The WSJ is reporting that biz whiz Warren Buffett is seeing “unending losses” for many newspapers. Buffet says it’s bleak, then adds “”It’s really a national tragedy. These monopoly daily
newspapers have been an important sinew to our civilization, they kept
government more honest than they would otherwise be.”

I agree that having individuals and institutions that speak truth to power is essential. I also agree that storytelling and investigative reporting are skills–and arts–we cannot lose.  However, I can’t pretend that I am sorry that over-leveraged, corporate conglomerate news businesses are being forced to reinvent and change. The idea that the era of the “monopoly newspaper” as Buffet smartly calls it, is ending fills me with excitement–and a sense of responsibillity to help craft what’s viable and next.

Is news over? No.

Are newspapers over? Certainly not
.
But as the old mega-businesses fall to their knees and flame out, watch carefully what comes next–I am hoping we see more local media, more public media, more community voices combined with skilled story telling and more accountability.

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  1. Richard Grayson says:

    Read David Carr’s column in Monday’s New York Times on the coming bear market in accountability:
    “Even as newspapers are being attenuated, they are still the source of most of the reporting horsepower out there. And sometimes, the stakes go beyond money. On Aug. 2, 2007, the editor of The Oakland Post, Chauncey Bailey, was gunned down while walking to work; a case was brought against a handyman at Your Black Muslim Bakery who was thought to have acted alone. Reporters at The San Francisco Chronicle and independent colleagues who formed The Chauncey Bailey Project dug in and turned up new, revealing leads.
    Contrary to the conclusion reached by the police, the reporting indicated the possibility that the murder of Mr. Bailey had been ordered by Yusuf Bey IV, a son of the founder of the bakery, in retaliation for Mr. Bailey’s work on a story about the business’s troubled finances.
    It was subsequently discovered that the lead investigator had personal ties to Mr. Bey and, when it was learned that the Oakland police had ignored evidence of a wider conspiracy, the police chief, Wayne Tucker, resigned.
    Last Wednesday, an Alameda County grand jury indicted Mr. Bey and another man on murder charges in the Bailey case and the killings of two other men.”
    Then tell us again how happy you are that things are changing and how the wonderful new world will improve on the old.
    Yawn

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