I found a recent article on Real Clear Politics by Cathy Young (of Reason Magazine) on professional journalism vis-a-vis new media good fodder for (DIS)ENGAGED.
Ms. Young makes a wise statement that professional journalists and the profession are both still as important than ever, and that the new media, while a powerful tool of democracy and spreading information, is not a wise substitute. She rightly claims that both do best when acting as a check on, and complement to the other. There is some additional commentary on how Barack Obama was handled with velvet gloves and also that the media is liberal-leaning. She may be right, but that is not what I am interested in here.
The rest of the article (posted on a blog, mind you) goes on to discuss how traditional media might survive in the new media landscape, and business models that might allow these companies to make profits and survive in the face of blogs and the like. I do think this is important.
Ms. Young closes with a judgment that if Americans still respect quality journalism they will pay to keep it alive so long as the media earns that respect. I agree with this in broad terms, but I am not sure that it is entirely true.
I know more people in my hometown in Illinois that think the NY Times is liberal propaganda than those who take it as honest reporting. I see plenty of people here in the big apple who use The NY Post for one-stop news/info shopping. And I have spoken with plenty of folks who seem to put more faith in user-generated commentary disguised as news than they do in that from professional sources.
I was recently in Seattle when the Seattle P.I. folded, and it seems like each day another one bites the dust. It is sad, and scary. While our new media give us new and exciting democratic opportunities, I agree with Ms. Young. We do need to find a way to at least preserve professional journalism, if not the papers.