The most interesting part of Barack Obama’s Oval Office discussion with reporters from the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Friday was not, in fact, the president’s statement that he might, you know, consider a government bailout of newspapers. (“I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them.”)
More interesting, to me, were the media-critic-in-chief’s overall musings about the trajectory of news coverage in the country:
“Journalistic integrity, you know, fact-based reporting, serious investigative reporting, how to retain those ethics in all these different new media and how to make sure that it’s paid for, is really a challenge. But it’s something that I think is absolutely critical to the health of our democracy.”
“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.”
“What I hope is that people start understanding if you’re getting your newspaper over the Internet, that’s not free and there’s got to be a way to find a business model that supports that.”
Spoken like a true media thinker.Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.