Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Laid-off CA editor appeals to academia to help save journalism

We read at LAObserved that laid-off MediaNews columnist and former LAT editor Wes Hughes has appealed in a letter to Stanford University president John Hennessey to "take on the problem of how to preserve public and investigative journalism with the same seriousness academia addressed global warming, because it is that desperate."

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped you that the newspaper industry is imploding as I write this. The Los Angeles Times for example has lost a full one-third of its circulation and its news staff has been reduced accordingly. The same is true at practically every other newspaper in the United States and the television news business isn’t far behind.

Sam Zell bought the Tribune Company for a pittance, leveraging the employees’ stock holdings to swing the deal and they threw in the once-proud L.A. Times as a sweetener.
Across the country, the barbarians are at the gates of the New York Times and if that great daily should fall, I fear for the future of America.
His letter is cc'd to Sam Zell, Dean Singleton and other prominent newspaper owners who are worried more about sliding double-digit profits than journalists' alarms that American democracy is in peril because of drastic cuts to newsroom resources. Plunging ad revenue, a major the reason for the cuts, isn't likely to reverse course any time soon given the current economic climate, so help from any corner should be welcome.

Can Stanford help save watchdog journalism from corporate greed? Maybe it can come up with a new, innovative business blueprint for media companies that will preserve investigative journalism and increase financial prosperity. We need both.

No comments: