“The Snake Is Eating Itself”

Here’s a sad little parable about The State of Contemporary Journalism, a tale told of the Chicago Tribune and related by Gawker’s John Cook:

According to a source inside the Tribune Tower, for the last six months the paper has required all of its features reporters—that would be its arts writers, food writers, culture writers, etc.—to come in on Sundays, on a rotating basis, and write an entertainment/gossip column called “Face Time” for Monday’s paper. They are instructed to do this by scanning what TMZ and the US Weekly web site have reported over the weekend, and rehash it for Monday.

“You’ve got highly skilled reporters rewriting three-day old gossip from web sites to go in the next days’ paper,” the source says.

Cook sums up this sorry situation well: “And here we thought it was blogs that just rewrite stuff from newspapers. The snake is eating itself, and soon it will be all gone.”

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.