“While we can’t know everything at the moment since so much depends upon facts that are obscure or situations we cannot possibly know about, the projection of favorable or unfavorable reporting is always the trap for the unwary journalist and can ruin careers by later destroying credibilty of the journalist by going out on those limbs. Training courses for protection of journalist methods would go far to provide a consistent approach to articles and works worthy of the public’s time and attention. So many seem to rely upon political or social persecution for notoriety. Fast profits through muckraking are easy; Steady profits through insight are not but serve humanity better and could be cultivated as the professional approach to topics, people, and events.”

Pat

Time the Conquerer

Encore Fellow Jill Drew’s newspaper-reading ritual and her thoughts on reading a print product in a time-crunched world got readers talking about their own—and greater America’s&;mdash;reading habits.

“If you want to know how people spent so little time with the paper, don’t look at WSJ, NYT, WaPo, look at the thin daily gruel served in Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Franciso, Hartford, Philadelphia, Kansas City, New Haven, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and then on to small metro areas. It’s hard to even find 39 minutes worth of material in them unless you do the crosswords and sudoku. In fact, it’s quite silly to apply that time limit to someone trying to read the three densest papers.

“Ahh if only I had that sort of time to read that many papers. I’m a high school student in the Baltimore region and I’m absolutely enamored newspapers, for many the same reasons as the author. Since the Sun has been no good for about the past 10 years, I get the Post delivered. Unfortunately I dont get to read much of anything until after school. And then when homework and other extracurriculars are added, I sometimes find myself not finishing the paper until late at night, by the time the next day’s edition is already being printed. Time is the enemy of newspapers, but even so, I think most anyone could fit at least one quality paper into their day, every day if they make a conscious effort to inform themselves.”

Jonathan

“But I really like Jill’s condemnation of the overbroad nut graf and editor-driven stories. It’s a shame she wised up too late.”

OtherDan

“I find it useful to assess this issue in economic terms: The opportunity cost (in time) of consuming irrelevant information is rising.

“That is to say, every 39 minutes I spend reading information that’s lightly relevant, like the NYT’s too-thin trend stories, is 39 minutes I didn’t spend reading highly relevant information from a niche outlet like Blazer’s Edge or CJR.

“The implication: it’s not that modern readers are “distracted” from what matters or that life has somehow hurried up. It’s not that newspapers have gotten crappier. It’s that, given the proliferation of new niche content sources, lightly relevant content newspapers’ simply doesn’t make a lot of sense to consume.

“I also agree with Drew’s conclusion: catering to core loyalists is the only way to sustainability.

“More thoughts on this here:

http://www.oldforestnewtrees.com/2009/07/31/relevance-is-mandatory-so-pick-a-niche/”

Michael Andersen

Kimberly Chou is a writer in New York.