Sunday, November 25, 2012

A delayed appreciation

I should have mentioned this earlier.  I hope it's never too late for a kind word.

A Facebook friend, a long-time successful television news producer, wants to write a book on what is wrong with journalism today.  He wondered two things:  1.  would anybody read it? and 2.  how many volumes would it take?

With cynicism high and hope for quality journalism low, comes word from the New York Times.  At a newspaper that values their journalistic heritage, the paper published an article though they were quite sure it would cost advertising revenue.

The New York Times' David Barboza  broke a story awhile ago about the "vast wealth of the Chinese prime minister's family." The Times published the article for two reasons--it was true and it was newsworthy.  As a result, the Times website was blocked in China causing its advertisers to have no access to the audience it was promised.   

Recently, the New York Times company reported its net income for the third quarter had declined more than 85 percent compared to the same period last year.   Its stock dropped more than 22 percent.  Losing ad revenue in China, or anyplace else, right now is maybe not a good business decision.  The Times concluded that a Chinese politician helping his family financially at the government's expense is a good story.  So they ran it.

There is a lot wrong with journalism today.  The problems are technological, sociological, economic and perhaps due to an ever shortening attention span on the part of its audience.  What the New York Times reminded us is that the problems are not part of a natural evolution.  They are a choice.  The New York Times chose to do quality, responsible journalism, no matter what the costs.  Because the story was true and newsworthy.  They made a choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment