Death Certificate

November 19, 2010

by Roger Pynn

As if we needed proof that journalism is on its deathbed, this National Public Radio Talk of the Nation segment with host Neal Conan interviewing Ted Koppel and media critic Jeff Jarvis is as close as you’ll get to a death certificate.

If you’re going to read the whole transcript, or listen to the entire 30-minute conversation, strap yourself in.  Jarvis, who just happens to also be an associate professor of “Interactive Journalism” at City University of New York, will explain to you that the standard now is not objectivity, but rather transparency.

Conan is interviewing Koppel, the former managing editor of ABC News “Nightline” about a Washington Post op-ed piece criticizing television news, in which Koppel all but laughed at Keith Olbermann’s brief suspension from MSNBC for having made political contributions in violation of NBC News policy.

Jarvis, who claims to teach something he calls “entrepreneurial journalism,” thinks it is not only acceptable for Olbermann to make political contributions but that by knowing where a reporter stands makes it easier to evaluate what they write.

This fellow is teaching students who are, down the road, very likely going to be the people who deliver information to us all … and they will no doubt call it news and refer to themselves as journalists.

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