Misguided

by Roger Pynn

Poor Rupert Murdoch, all those millions poured into newspapers and an attitude like this: papers have an edge over bloggers and other newcomers because readers trust them more, according to a story by Associated Press.

Rupert, old boy, if you haven’t noticed public confidence in the media is at an all-time low. Why? Could it be that many in the news business have abandoned the basic tenants of journalism and become so comfortable with prefacing their comments with the words “I think” that they’ve forgotten altogether that journalists shouldn’t express their personal opinions?

He’s right. There are huge opportunities for papers that pursue online markets for news. We don’t need to argue whether or not there is a market of people like me who still enjoy the feel of newsprint as they sip a morning cup of coffee.

But if you truly believe there is a difference between “organized journalism” such as what used to and should be practiced by newspapers and the online personal editorial pages that blogs like this represent, why not create a continuing education program for your editors and reporters to remind them that just because Woodward and Bernstein uncovered Nixon’s complicity in Watergate doesn’t mean everyone in the newsroom should be on a mission to prove that every news sources or “public person” or organization carrying the postscript initials “inc” ought to be pursued as a public enemy.

Just report the news. If you need a reminder, you can get your people to start with “who, what, where, why, when and how?” instead of language resembling the best opening argument of a state attorney before a grand jury.

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