The news industry is dying. Fine, but does it matter?

by phil on Thursday Dec 3, 2009 7:41 PM

Is the quality and distribution of news going down as well? Is there a way we can measure that? Anecdotaly, I feel that the quality and quantity of news has increased. I seem to be overloaded with news actually. News appears in my twitter, facebook, RSS, and bookmarks. I feel much more informed about world events than I did 10 years ago. I'm even up-to-date on local news now, thanks to a zip-code entry field on Google News.

I do have one concern, though, and it's tied to a simple strand of thinking: what happens if you can't pay Seymour Hersch to do investigative journalism? (Seymour Hersch uncovered the My Lai Massacre and Abu Graib).

The question, then, is whether the imploding news industry will preserve what we truly care about, or will that go away too? Clay Shirky suggests that the industry is just going to get more efficient. For example, he looked at the Columbia Daily Tribune, and found that there are only six news reporters out of a staff list of 59! So if the news industry contracts, maybe it will just get rid of the extraneous staff and keep the Seymour Hersches employed.

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