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J-school dean’s of lack of respect for news audiences is bad preparation for the future of news 5/20/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in NewsConsumer.

How did we go from a country whose Founding Fathers placed enormous faith in the lowliest of citizens, to one whose j-schools hold news audiences in such utter contempt? For example, Syracuse University’s retiring j-school dean David Rubin could not think much of us if he could say, “In this [newly competitive] environment, it [has become] a real risk to take the high road and give the public what it needs, and not necessarily what it wants, which are often two different things…The pressure … encourages pandering and appealing to the lowest common denominator.” He mustn’t think much of our intelligence to say, “Newspapers…are the only thing that stand…between the public and ignorance…If newspapers go away, then what?” And he seems downright frustrated that we have not dropped everything to implement the Democratic Party agenda when he asks, “how is it that technology has dramatically transformed the media, yet all of this new media content has not done more to transform society for the better?”

In the future of news, the riff-raff Rubin disdains are the customers who will decide whether and in what form the news industry continues to exist. Their tastes and interests will determine what the news is, and their consent will drive public policy. They will be the customers, and customers, as we all know, are always right. The dean’s ramblings may not be the best preparation for his students planning careers in the future of news, but retirement may be the best preparation for j-school deans who are not ready to accept it.


1. tpeek - 5/21/08

it’s not just J-school deans: this attitude is rife throughout every news organization I’ve ever seen. Still. And you’re right, it is a recipe for extinction, which is already happening.

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