Tuesday, May 24, 2005

But what if a newspaper thinks its community needs to be provoked?

In an interesting article at Editor and Publisher Michael Bugeja, the director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University, opines that newspapers should "invest in the newsroom" instead of the internet.

What is going on? Journalists used to have "street smarts"—-another term for common sense. Don't we realize that our entire history is associated with the community, which we have abandoned because consultants in the dubious "dot.com" days told us to go online where the money was or risk extinction? Now they are telling us that newspapers on line risk extinction unless they blog, or provide content to a specific target market.

Community is our target market.

Salt Lick is just a country bumpkin, but he thinks Mr. Bugeja is showing how out-of-touch he is with the reading public. Newspapers' declining circulations reflect public resentment at the agenda of ideologically one-sided newsrooms and the way that agenda is used to slant the news. It's time for newspapers to create a staff which is ideologically diverse, not one which seeks to provoke and guide the prols.

Maybe instead of "What is going on" a better question for newspaper publishers and editors to answer is "What are you afraid of?"

Diversity, maybe?