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Monday, February 19, 2007

Tabloid Society

Wonderful analysis of journalism by an insider. I agree with this 100 percent and it is why I do not anticipate rejoining the world of 'mainstream journalism.' I wonder if mainstream journalists feel the need to create sensationalism to attract a readership who is turning increasingly to the internet, blogs in general, to get information. Sexy headlines might be considered a papers best, and last, form of advertising. *Now* I'm done with my shoddy journalism rant. (H/T Diogenes)
"Once upon a time, there were two modes of journalism, called tabloid and broadsheet. The distinction was clear. The first (tabloid), aimed at the more ignorant and credulous section of the population, was shamelessly sensationalist, and indifferent to its own track record. The second (broadsheet), aimed at the more intelligent and sceptical -- businessmen, especially, with money on the line. It cultivated greyness and sobriety, and was fixated on reputation. Tabloids were for fun, broadsheets were for information.

In my own lifetime as a journalist I have watched this distinction evaporate, and the unrestricted triumph of the tabloid ideal.

But at the same time, there has been a swing, among the class of people who staff the media. Where before they were generally short on academic qualifications, but long on street smarts, now we have a broad creamy froth of journalism-school graduates with zero street-smarts, but thorough indoctrination in the art of attitudinizing. Or to put it another way, the political outlook has swung dramatically from right to left.

Nevertheless, so long as our (human) race can stay out of the trees, there will be a demand for good solid information and lively but responsible analysis. These have not disappeared, but gone largely underground, or more precisely, into the aether of the Internet. People who feel the need to know what is actually going on, are increasingly by-passing the “mainstream media” and going directly to the best sources."