former journalists discuss a profession in crisis

Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

CNN and The New York Times: How Committed To Good Journalism?

In Blog on January 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I don’t know which is sadder – the fact that CNN decided to outsource much of its investigative reporting last May, or that the event largely escaped notice until The Daily Show publicized it last week. CNN is such a shadow of itself, I’m not sure how big an audience there is for its investigative reports, or what real impact they have on the world. Nevertheless, anytime investigative reporters lose full-time jobs, that’s not good news.

 

Being outdone by a fictional news show isn’t great either.

And while The New York Times isn’t laying off any environmental reporters, the fact that the paper announced this month that it would disband its environment desk also raised concerns about the paper’s continuing commitment to covering the environment. As I wrote in my blog for the Union of Concerned Scientists, I can’t say I find The Times’ explanation for axing the specialized desk of reporters and editors very convincing.

Out of the News on C-SPAN

In Blog on January 16, 2013 at 9:00 am

celiaonbooktv

I was interviewed at the 2012 National Press Club Fair by C-SPAN’s Book TV and the interview is up on the C-SPAN website!

Last of the ‘Lifers’? Milwaukee Magazine Reviews Out of the News UPDATED

In Blog on January 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

Updated to add!  The review and the book also got a mention yesterday from Jim Romenesko in a post on journalists leaving the newsroom.

A great review of Out of the News yesterday by Milwaukee Magazine’s Erik Gunn. He was even inspired to find out what the lives of some of his former colleagues have been like since they left the newsroom:

The simultaneous explosion and implosion of media may be especially dispiriting for the would-be lifers: If journalism is all you ever wanted to do, what happens when the craft changes so much it seems unrecognizable, or the ranks of working journalists become so decimated that you have no choice but to explore something new?

I pondered that question while perusing Out of the News: Former Journalists Discuss a Profession in Crisis (McFarland & Co., 203 pp.), by Celia Viggo Wexler. Wexler, a newspaper reporter turned lobbyist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, produced the book from probing interviews with 11 journalists who found themselves forced by conscience or circumstance to leave the profession. (Disclosure: Nearly 30 years ago in Rochester, N.Y., Wexler and I knew each other while working for competing newspapers.)

Probably her most prominent subject is David Simon, the former Baltimore Sun reporter and creator of acclaimed TV shows including The Wire, which devoted one season to the struggles inside an urban newspaper. But the other 10, virtually all from the top ranks of media organizations, have stories just as compelling.

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