There might be hope for uninfluenced journalism

October 16, 2007

If you’ve had a whiff of the journalism industry within the past few years, you’ll realize it’s a little influenced, to say the least. Used to be that if something was sponsored in a newspaper, it would’ve blatantly had the word “Advertisement” on top. Now you have to decipher if something is worth your time or not, by flipping through pages to make certain if the product mentioned in the article is advertised or not. I’ll tell you from experience: likely, it is.

This interesting clip is part of a worthwhile documentary called, “The Corporation.”

There are some old school (and some naive young) journalists that detest this practice, and are quickly shut down if they speak against it. Reasons being very simple: bills to pay.

The thing is, newspaper industry is a business too. And with the internet being the source for all things instant, including news, its understandable the reasons for not jeopardizing advertising dollars during a time when you are loosing all your target audience to the web. Consequently the newspaper (and t.v. news) industry is slowly loosing its integrity, some might say.

I was very curious when browsing through NYTimes’ most e-mailed articles when I came across something called, “Group Plans to Provide Investigative Journalism.” I thought it was a bunch of frustrated journalists who got together and started their own paper, which was backed by a rich guy, who is throwing away money at them in the name of philanthropy. I wasn’t too off.

As struggling newspapers across the country cut back on investigative reporting, a new kind of journalism venture is hoping to fill the gap.

Paul E. Steiger, who was the top editor of The Wall Street Journal for 16 years, and a pair of wealthy Californians are assembling a group of investigative journalists who will give away their work to media outlets.

The rest of the article tells you of the details. But you get the gist. What I want to you to understand is how this is essentially the last real hope for the industry that is being corrupted by special interests. I don’t refer to advertisers and ad executives. They do what they must. But the shareholders who demand increased bottomline.

So this why I’m certain you can appreciate why I am dancing around in my room when I hear innovative and courageous folks say,

“All of my life I’ve been driven crazy whenever I encounter corruption, malfeasance, mendacity, but particularly where those in power take advantage of those who have few resources.”

There might still be hope.

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