Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Let's Blame the Readers

Obviously, as various community institutions fade in importance, so does the amount of coverage they receive (seen much on the labor-union beat lately?). As television has grown in importance, so has the space allotted to it in print media — not just in listings and reviews, but in coverage of TV celebrities, even the recently minted varieties that have started to emerge from reality shows. When news executives are asked why they put so much effort into covering celebrities, the answer is that “readers want it.”

...Why are so many people avoiding the hard task of keeping themselves informed about what is going on in their government and society? Why is ignorance so widespread at a time when higher education is more widely pursued than ever before?

...Perhaps we should, to an extent, blame the readers. Perhaps the old notions of an engaged and virtuous citizenry, upon which the founding fathers’ hopes for the republic were based, are archaic concepts.


-Let’s Blame the Readers: Is it possible to do great journalism if the public does not care?
By Evan Cornog
In Columbia Journalism Review


3 comments:

-epm said...

"Why is ignorance so widespread at a time when higher education is more widely pursued than ever before?"

Because institutions of higher eduction have turned into white-collar trade schools that no longer build a strong foundation in the humanities.

"Perhaps the old notions of an engaged and virtuous citizenry, upon which the founding fathers’ hopes for the republic were based, are archaic concepts."

Perhaps the Geneva Conventions are "quaint." Perhaps intellectual pursuits are too hard. Let's outsource our governance as well as our manufacturing. Let's all just eat Bic Macs and leave all that egghead crap to those silly Indians and Chinese. As long as we have our bread and circuses (and big-ass guns) who cares.

Perhaps the problem is that "news" is just another corporate division expected to make it's numbers. Maybe the problem is lazy journalism.

...now where's my damn iPod. I need some music.

SugarDuck said...

I once read that a sign of prosperity is when the public gets indifferent to politics. The low voter turnout of recent elections is a sign that Americans are feeling complacent with their lives. It's an aspect of prosperity that I could do without, though.

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