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Newspapers, journalism, and news are 3 completely different things. Only one is guaranteed to survive. 2/18/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Journalism.

Adrian Monck has written a provocative post chiding those who blame declining newspaper sales on poor journalism practices. He clarifies that consumers’ diminishing interest in getting news in an ink-on-paper format is its own problem, so fixing journalism-generated content will not necessarily revive newspapers.

But just as newspapers and journalism are not the same thing, neither are journalism and news. My definition of “news” is “New information about a subject of common interest that is shared within a community.” That would be any new information, on any topic, shared by anyone, within any community larger than, let’s say, a nuclear family unit. On the other hand, “journalism” as we know it today is a set of vocational practices used in the business of selling news to consumers, developed during an era marked by limited business competition, and characterized by an authoritative, somber tone and exaggerated claims of objectivity, verification, moral superiority, and the importance of government actions in the lives of free peoples. Journalism is but one way to satisfy people’s need for news, and a scolding, tiresome, and — as we will soon learn — mortal one at that.


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