A welcome note to end the year on comes from an October report by the Journalism School of Columbia University on The Reconstruction of American Journalism. The PDF download opens with an optimistic forecast before setting the stage by looking back to our journalistic roots beginning in the 18th century.
I agree with the conclusions in general. My reservations spring mostly from concern about the increasing difficulties posed by the exponential expansion of technology and the corresponding very serious problems that arise out of authenticity; as the report notes, “authenticated journalism”.
Just today a mid-afternoon flash on the death of Hollywood actress Brittany Murphy by web site TMZ was cautiously cited as source even though verification was somewhat slow in materializing, highlighting the problems that come with global transmission as near fact that which hasn’t been properly vetted in context.
Is the demise of journalism’s Golden Age premature? The report by authors Leonard Downie, Jr. and Prof. Michael Schudson argues yes – and supports their conclusion with a number of well thought out examples of how, why and when the transformation of the Fourth Estate from ad advertising based model to (perhaps) a community based enterprise will occur.