Friday, January 8, 2010

Stop blaming the Internet: Tina Brown

One-fourth of the Daily Beast's Tina Brown's fine January 3 post, "Things to stop bitching about in 2010," rightfully criticizes the whining about the web and the doomsayers who pronounce as dead or passe substantive journalism such as investigative reporting.

"What a load of Spam!" Brown writes. "American newspapers are dying mostly because they were so dull for so long a whole generation gave up on them. They needed to innovate back in the Fax Age of the 1980s but were too self-important and making too much money with their monopolies to acknowledge it.

"In the U.K., there is a banquet of glorious newspapers to feast on in the morning despite the presence of the Internet," she continues. "All of these papers look nothing like they did 15 years ago. Furrow-browed broadsheets like The Times of London and The Guardian got snappy new overhauls, cut down to a more modern-feeling tabloid size, with a use of pictures and color that's imaginative and striking and appealing to the younger demographic.

"These 'serious' papers are replete with sexy culture coverage and hip fashion stories as well as foreign reporting and brainiac columnists that make them a guilty pleasure to read. It's one of the biggest fibs going that American newspapers are now being forced to give up their commitment to investigative reporting. Most of them gave up long ago as their greedy managements squeezed every cent out of the bottom line and turned their newsrooms into eunuchs. As for the Internet thieving the bona fide news reporters' hard-worked stories, 'Back at ya!' is all I can say. Online writers for years have had their stories ripped off by newspapers with no credit. At least the Internet links to the things it steals. Whatever his views on this issue, by the way, Rupert Murdoch has greatly improved The Wall Street Journal. Leave it to an Aussie to give American journalism a swift kick in its down under."