Letters to Redmond

R.I.P. Journalism

Readers ponder the problems of old-school news media -- and how to fix them.

R.I.P. Journalism
I couldn't agree more with Doug Barney in his "Journalism's Last Legs" column (Barney's Rubble, August 2009). It appears that our attention-deficit society is only interested in death and destruction, not real news. Real news requires one to think about the issue, form an opinion and, sometimes, act upon it. Death and destruction require no positive interaction on the part of the reader, just an acceptance of more of the same.

The recent glut of hyped "news" regarding Michael Jackson is a good case in point. What possible interest could this have for any normal individual? In my opinion, none. The man is dead; let him rest in peace. But that's not the way the sensationalist media see it at all. They'll scrap and claw to unearth the slightest bit of dirt, just to add to the glut of trash that's already been presented as "news," thinking that that's what we want to hear.

Can journalism be saved? Not as long as the consumers continue to swallow the slop that they're fed without protest. It is, after all, a consumer-driven enterprise.

The recent passing of Walter Cronkite really marked the end of an era.

Gordon Pegue
Albuquerque, N.M.

My proposed solution to save journalism will take some courage. Because many media companies haven't figured out this Internet thing, many don't have the courage to proceed. Although it has been proposed, the solution is to block content from the search engines. The technology already exists to do this. It's a risk, but because newspapers are viewed in high regard and well known in their respective markets, my gut feeling is that the users who relied on Google will begin to visit the source directly.

Newspapers have a knack for waiting for other newspapers to act. As soon as one newspaper has the courage to do this, others will follow -- if it works. This would benefit the newspaper two-fold: Get more eyes on ads on their own Web sites, and have search providers pay royalties to include their content in the results.

Joaquim daSilva
received by e-mail

The values and viewpoints coming out of the mainstream media nowadays are not appealing to me. It hasn't always been this way, but lately none of it reflects my viewpoints and values. So why bother? Let the people who like their product support them. That goes for Google as well.

Randy Johnson
received by e-mail

Paper journalism is waiting for someone to put a stake in its heart. No one wants to pay 50 cents or $1.50 for a piece of paper that gets their hands dirty and has all of yesterday's news in it when they can go online and find what's happening now!

Most of what is killing today's journals is that they've evolved into fairly slanted mouthpieces -- and now everyone can go online and find exactly the slant that they want to hear on someone's blog. Why read or even buy a paper only to have to slog though all the tripe you don't agree with to find one good article?

Another problem is that reading as a pastime and as a way to learn new things is falling by the wayside. Literacy is on the decline. People don't want news: they want bread and circuses.

Journalism has also aided its own demise by becoming so top-heavy that selling the paper, even with an outrageous amount of advertising, can't keep up with day-to-day costs. Ditto for magazines. The new model will be the blogger who can turn his blog into some form of revenue. I foresee many long, hard years for those who are strictly in the "news" business.

Mark Bielinski
received by e-mail

It's clear that what we once knew as journalism now has a much broader definition. The work of a pure journalist was to document and communicate unbiased facts. However, today's so-called journalists work for biased entities that must push their agenda or face market elimination.

Journalism's once-noble premise was to promote the formation of opinions. It is now pre-formulated opinion. Calling it journalism is a fallacy. I wonder if people would read it if it were called "opinionism"?

Paul D.
received by e-mail

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This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at [email protected] and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.


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