That said, what's journalism?
Matt Bowden, in the October issue of The Atlantic, proposes that we are in a "post-journalistic age," created by the broadcast drive for ratings and the corporate drive for a bat bottom line, both of which are, of course, money.
"In this post-journalistic world, the model for all national debate becomes the trial, where adversaries face off, representing opposing points of view," Bowden said.
One of the basic lessons rookie reporters are taught is to follow the money. Who benefits, who pays, who receives. In Bowden's PJ world, journalists are lawyers, not recorders of facts.
And there's the problem; as lawyers, as presenters of opinion, not fact, journalists are less than useless.
Newspapers -- I can't speak for broadcast news, never having gotten closer to that profession than as a panelist on the occasional Sunday interview show for a low band, low budget Indianapolis TV station -- either ignored or under-estimated the catastrophic impact of the Internet and have never recovered.
The recovery may not happen until, and unless, print news outlets re-invent themselves by accepting there are three forms of news communication: Reporting; journalism and opinion.
Reporting is stenography -- "here's what happened, here's what was said."
Journalism is interpretation -- "here's what happened, here's what was said, here's what it probably means."
Opinion is verdict -- "here's what I think happened, here's what I think was meant by what was said, here's what I believe it to me."
Print news must learn to teach its customers the differences between these phases.
And what, some of you are wondering, does any of this have to do with science?
Reporting is science: the careful observation and recording of the event. Journalism is hypothesis. Opinion is entertainment.
Accepting those definitions are critical not just to print, but to the successful communication of what science means and does to the general public.
And that leads to another blog ...
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