Today is a snapshot of the future of print journalism

Jason Renaud is the co-founder of the Mental Health Association of Portland and a candidate for Portland City Council, see www.jasonforportland.com

Today is a snapshot of the future of print journalism.

Open your daily newspaper, or go online and scan the news sites. You'll find scant “new” news. Don't get scared. It's just today as managing editors part out holiday leave.

In the post-holiday edition press releases puff up to front pages stories, recipes get printed in larger type, the op ed and letters to the editor bin gets shaken out.

What we read is the future where few if any journalists gather the news, type in a sensible and somewhat impartial manner, print on cheap paper, find adverting dollars to supplant the various costs, and throw it on your doorstep each morning.

Every indicator shows the complicated 20th century process of journalism is going away. Even old elephants like The Oregonian are desperately slimming their content to appear fresh and lively to the ADHD crowd. Soon, because of the collective failed business plan, we'll all be starved and gobbling twitter-feed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Here's the problem. Those who gather news hold a powerful and integrated position, expressing what our governments are doing both for us and to us. It's their reports, gathered and printed and thrown on our collective doorstep, which present a sense of the right and wrong our taxes support.

Now, versus five years ago, when I attend public meetings, I see fewer journalists attending. The effect of slimming is many public meetings independent reporting at all, certainly no dialectic aimed at truth.

Governments have relied on independent new gathers to distribute accurate information for decades. Good public administrators know journalism is a portion of their check-and-balance. It provides credibility and builds trust for public services. And they know without a private press, the manufacturing cost of maintaining credibility and trust is high and dear and at times may have priority.

Something will replace newspapers. We don't know what, but the advertising market is waiting and needy for a vehicle. Will their vehicle also carry the responsibility of minding the business of government? Or of industry and commerce, of schools and children, of the environment, of science and intellectual progress, of crime and punishment, of the arts and culture, of box scores and recipes?

Highly unlikely.

Comments

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    I spoke with a woman who was a reporter for Gannett in one of America's capital cities, where the sausage of democracy is spiced and served up. She said that the reason I was complaining about not seeing reporters or timely stories on local issues was that the paper had eliminated the second shift for reporters and, absent a big explosion or sex story, refused overtime for reporters to cover night meetings.

  • Scott Jorgensen (unverified)
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    That sounds familiar. My first job out of college was with a daily in Turlock, California. Its parent company was going bankrupt, so there was no overtime for reporters, though the workload remained the same. That paper ended up being sold to another company and turned into a twice-weekly.

  • (Show?)

    "Open your daily newspaper, or go online and scan the news sites. You'll find scant “new” news." Would have been a much stronger post with a few specific examples.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Given the fact that "news" reporters have restricted their skills to taking dictation or rephrasing talking points from government organizations for the most part the loss of what Ray McGovern calls the fawning corporate media is no big deal.

    Same for television blather shows when someone like lake David Gregory of "Meet the Press" tries to snare Governor Let's-Tango-in-Argentina Stanford by letting Stanford essentially control the conversation.

  • Chris Hammond (unverified)
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    The decline of newspapers aligns with the democratization of media, for better and for worse. People will seek out thought-leaders in areas that are relevant to them because ideas connect us more than relationships to a particular newspaper or reporter. It is frustrating that journalists need to spend equal time self branding as reporting but it’s the reality. As journalist Tom Foremski writes, “It is this type of active, always-on social media presence that is required these days, as a journalist, to gain attention to your stories.”

    The decline of ‘print’ journalism does not necessarily equate to a decline in journalistic integrity. I read more news from more sources than ever before, including the journalistic standard-bearers of old: New York Times, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, etc., and some (relatively) new: Politico, BlueOregon, Huffington Post.

    One reason The Oregonian may be slimming down is because its online version looks like it was created in 1999. It neither appeals to the ADHD culture, nor any culture that wants to read fluid, attractive online newsprint. And let’s be honest about print newspapers once and for all – the majority of subscribers don’t read much more than the first page and the coupon section anyways. I think that newspapers should have intelligent online versions, accessible reporters, and supplant advert dollars with endowment funding structures.

    We are in the midst of a media rupture and will emerge on the other side more nimble, focused - and, hopefully - informed.

  • (Show?)

    Highly unlikely? It's already happening in any number of non-traditional venues.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    It is the absolute right of the <s>State</s> Newscorp to supervise the formation of public opinion. --<s>Joseph Goebbels</s> Rupert Murdoch

  • SeymourGlass (unverified)
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    Jason: here's a tip for you. If you want to run for office, don't just point out problems. Come up with a solution. At the very least, a possible solution.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There do remain several journalists that serve as exemplary models and an embarrassment to others that have sold out: Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn of The Independent (UK); John Pilger of Australia; Greg Palast working with the the BBC; Pepe Escobar and others covering South Asia for the Asia Times On Line; and, perhaps, most courageously of all Uri Avnery, Gideon Levy and Amira Hass in Israel who have the integrity and moral courage to criticize their own government while the hacks in the American corporate media take their directions from AIPAC and their ilk.

  • (Show?)

    I'm confused. Are you talking about Monday's Oregonian?

    I just finished reading it (at 1am) and it's actually much better than the usual Monday abbreviated edition. 85% of the front page was local. The profile of Mike Salsgiver was excellent (and infuriating). The community forest story was fascinating and educational. On the inside, the item about the future of Metro had just the right amount of background to create context for that important (though wonky) topic.

    Sure, some of those pieces were probably written a few days ago, but I'm ok with that. There's not a lot of local non-crime non-sports news that's generated during the holidays.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    I see this as more about a candidate introducing himself than the nominal content, which I find difficult to believe inspired a post. What is fresh or insightful about realizing the point, and haven't we discussed it here a number of times, and all in the recent past? So I'll assume it's a "let's introduce..." and will respond to that directly. Not that one single contributor to BO has ever labeled calling out objectionable language as off-topic, but, then, progressives labor under a higher standard.

    Using the language of psychopathology to interpret social phenomenon is a destructive, counterproductive trend in society. It is language used by those engaged in human domestication. I know you're using ADHD in its socially trivialized sense. Unfortunately, there's nothing inconsequential or trivial about the mainstreaming of pathology. And that's exactly what it is. It says that pathology- suffering- is society's, not the individuals. In your graf, WHO suffers from the ADHD? You do. (I'll ignore where you launch into telling the populace so described that they don't know how sick they are- because you didn't). It's an example of the arrogant, self-absorbed attitude that leaves people like you irritated with people like me. And the ADHD population. Hint: when opposite types irritate you equally, and for the same reason, it's an a priori conclusion on your part.

    The bulk of ADHD cases are kids being kids, but that's too much for their self absorbed parents. Pat Ryan describes himself as an ADHD case. Most of that is labeling from society that feels uncomfortable with what he says and how he says it, no doubt. That is their problem, not Pat's. Clinical psychologists have turned telling the public that, no, it's the kids/Pat's problem, into a lucrative living. Forget how many lives have been ruined by Ritalin therapy. Forget that the model has now been applied to the elderly, many of whom find themselves being poisoned into an early, convenient grave via their cholesterol drugs.

    The last psych job I interviewed for told me, as a part of the job description, the percentage of admissions that I would regard as substance abuse cases. It was a new facility, in a new area. The numbers were based on the need to maintain federal funding (read tax dollars used for re-education and brainwashing). I walked away from the profession. I studied to help people, not to help myself. That is the same question I ask my self with a City Council candidate. Who do they serve? Guess what I've come away with from this?

    If you want to introduce yourself, and let people know that you're nothing like this, you could have posted on something more contentious. I mean, was anyone likely to take the position, "no, I think the next century will see the print media unchanged and unphased. and btw, isn't it great!"

    Of course, taken at face value, I certainly agree with the post! Guess I'm just like Tina Turner. "We never, never do nuthin' nice and easy" . Little real value.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Back to the topic of the future of print journalism:

    There is a convoy attempting to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza, but it has been detained in Jordan while Egypt continues to be an accomplice in this on-going persecution on behalf of Israel's right-wing government. It would be very difficult to find information about this in the fawning corporate media. The Real News Network with a fraction of the funding of NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and CNN revealed this story on the day after Christmas. The Spanish and French media also carried this story.

    There is a hunger strike for Gaza in Cairo on behalf of this convoy. The corrupt corporate media have essentially ignored it. Among the hunger strikers is "85 year old Hedy Epstein (who) began a hunger strike as a modest gesture to call upon the Egyptian government to let us go to Gaza and for the end of the siege of Gaza. Hedy is a Holocaust survivor."

    If an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor can oppose the policies of Israel's right-wing government in such a risky manner for her own health, what does that say about the overwhelming majority of moral cowards in Congress and the people who elect them?

    If the trend in the United States towards a fascist or plutocratic state is to be reversed it will be up to the alternative media and citizens who pay attention. Give them your support.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "If an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor can oppose the policies of Israel's right-wing government in such a risky manner for her own health, what does that say about the overwhelming majority of moral cowards in Congress and the people who elect them?"

    And what does it say about Obama and the presidency when Obama calls for a end to settlement expansion in Palestine's West Bank and Israel's government essentially gives him and the United States the finger?

  • Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade (unverified)
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    I guess "post and run" has become the norm here. BO has become the bathroom graffiti of the internet. Guess that's as good a place as any to stick your campaign flyer.

    <img src="http://i.blogads.com/796346355/img.jpg?guid=ef116c1b85d9058b5afe1eb4ec4a327f">

    Looks like another Sam style arrogant hack to me! Any street people running? Not my first choice, but they DO look, just on the face of it, to be much more in touch!

    I'll be more blunt than Z. I've never met a psychologist that didn't need one (Z included). Why should we trust you to work for us on the council? Jesse gets mega credit over all these candidates that sniff and ignore everything that isn't "what they talkin' about". You know how freaking tired we are of hacks with either zero or questionable job experience telling us to shut up while they run the show?

    I suggest you consider Carla for your press officer.

  • (Show?)

    I guess "post and run" has become the norm here. BO has become the bathroom graffiti of the internet. Guess that's as good a place as any to stick your campaign flyer.

    You're presuming something in comments has been said that's worth responding to.

  • Sam Houston Clinton (unverified)
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    You know, all the sniffy elitism here kinda misses two rather important facts in the life of our republic. Every legally insane, every elvis believer, every flat earther, and every crack head that's old enough, can go out and vote. To get elected takes 50% plus one magic vote. Might just be the certifiable crazy. Can you put egos aside for long enough to do what your handlers pay you to do, i.e. get out the Dem message?

  • Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade (unverified)
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    Posted by: Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade | Dec 30, 2009 5:10:37 PM

    I suggest you consider Carla for your press officer.

    ------------------- Posted by: Carla Axtman | Dec 30, 2009 7:22:13 PM

    'I guess "post and run" has become the norm here. BO has become the bathroom graffiti of the internet. Guess that's as good a place as any to stick your campaign flyer.'

    You're presuming something in comments has been said that's worth responding to.

    That was fast!

  • Sam Houston Clinton (unverified)
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    Just found this from JR. I guess we're saying the same thing.

    The sad part here is the survey reveals a great mistrust by City Hall of those who live here. We're too preoccupied, too selfish, too ignorant, too old or young or deranged. But the truth is we are the people who live here and our future shouldn't be predetermined by a PR firm mentality.

    "The survey" was Portland Plan oriented.

  • (Show?)

    I guess when you're doing the "Sybil" thing, it might seem that way.

  • arma pt (unverified)
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    I definitely agree on this subject a very sad situation

  • Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade (unverified)
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    Posted by: Carla Axtman | Dec 30, 2009 10:40:54 PM

    I guess when you're doing the "Sybil" thing, it might seem that way.

    You really should study up on technology. I believe the phrase VPN has been thrown your insulting direction once or twice...

    The dictionary definition of snarque !

    Meanwhile, I don't suppose that public drug policy, discussed on three concurrent threads is much reason to call out someone that trivially throws around the language of PC mental health to address mass culture. I hope you have no illusions about the ends you serve.

    Posted by: arma pt | Jan 1, 2010 6:32:31 AM

    I definitely agree on this subject a very sad situation

    Does anyone care that allowing every spammer in the world to post their crap has rendered the comments index completely useless?

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