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Libraries are essential to democracies. We help to disseminate credible information that aides citizens to make well-informed decisions. Yet without sources of credible information, our mission to anticipate and meet the informational needs of our diverse communities becomes watered down.
The Death and Life of American Journalism
KQED’s Forum aired a program with the above title on the present crisis of journalism in America earlier this year. Anyone with an interest in how democracy works in our country will enjoy listening to this archived program.
Apparently, the demise of so many well-respected newspapers has less to do with the evolution from print to digital media than with the corporate business models that drive most present-day newspapers.
What's Really Happening?
The drive to create ever-increasing profits for shareholders has encouraged newspaper publishers to cut their foreign correspondents and investigative journalists. One might argue that Internet bloggers are taking the place of investigative journalists, yet that probably isn’t the case.
How many bloggers have the time to fact check and dig deeply below the surface of news stories. Even more important, how many bloggers have the protection of legal counsel when their investigations point to corporate malfeasance?
The questions raised in this program gave me pause. Possible solutions to the predicament of American journalism were posed as well, so it wasn’t an entirely bleak forecast.
Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post, is another important figure who is trying to build another model for American journalism. It will allow news organizations to rebuild their international and investigative departments.
Downie has written a thought-provoking book entitled The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril, available at many San Mateo County Libraries. He appeared at the Belmont Library on January 30, 2009 to discuss some of his findings.
Photo Credit: Hamed Saber
Kathleen B. is totally passionate about the idea of life-long education with all the promise it brings to help us to evolve into better beings. The public library embodies this ideal in an arena that invites engagement from all ages, ethnicities, and social classes. She will be blogging about some of the life-changing experiences she has had in the library.