Sunday, November 29, 2009

New report more in-depth, upbeat

Michael Schudson, a professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, said he was struck by "the really stunning enthusiasm and excitement of people engaged in many of these [Journalism] startups, who were just bubbling over with what they were doing."

Schudson co-authored the new paper "The Reconstruction of American Journalism" with Leonard Downie Jr., the Washington Post's former executive editor, who’s now a Journalism professor at Arizona State University.

Conceding changes in Journalism, their report includes all news media.

“The picture isn't much brighter in local television,” comments Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post. “KDNL in St. Louis and WYOU in Scranton, Pa., have dropped their newscasts altogether. At about 200 stations around the country, the local news is produced by other stations.

“Commercial radio stations, except for a handful of big-city outlets, do little or no local reporting,” Kurtz added. “At the same time, ‘only a relatively small number’ of public radio stations offer much on-the-ground reporting.”

The report notes, "The days of a kind of news media paternalism or patronage that produced journalism in the public interest, whether or not it contributed to the bottom line, are largely gone. American society must now take some collective responsibility for supporting independent news reporting in this new environment -- as society has, at much greater expense, for public needs like education, health care, scientific advancement and cultural preservation -- through varying combinations of philanthropy, subsidy and government policy."

Meanwhile, within weeks of its release third-quarter corporate reports came out, the newspaper chains Gannett (USA Today) showed a $73.8 million profit and McClatchy (Kansas City Star, Belleville Nws Democrat) showed a $23.6 million profit.

The study will appear in a forthcoming issue of Columbia Journalism Review and is online as a pdf file here --