Monday, March 30, 2009
'Good Journalists Don't Do It for the Money'
My wife loves newspapers and each day represents a small portion of the "death by 1,000 cuts" as another paper announces it can't go on any longer as it has. Sunday morning, there was a piece on "CBS Sunday Morning" that took a look at the industry and that set her day off again.
I want to resssure her and am constantly quoting my friend Keith Ferrell that the newspaper isn't important; the newsroom is. But she remains skeptical and worries that we'll lose the franchise before change can be implemented.
Into this moment of change charges Arianna Huffington, the former Republican who is now the leader of the Democratic left, with this announcement today on huffingtonpost.com of the formation of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund:
“This nonprofit Fund will produce a wide-range of investigative journalism created by both staff reporters and freelance writers. As the newspaper industry continues to contract, one of the most commonly voiced fears is that investigative journalism will be among the victims of the scaleback. And, indeed, many newspapers are drastically reducing their investigative teams. Yet, given the multiple crises we are living through, investigative journalism is all the more important. As a result, all who recognize the indispensable role good journalism plays in our democracy are looking for ways to preserve it during this transitional period for the media. For too long, whether it's coverage of the war in Iraq or the economic meltdown, we've had too many autopsies and not enough biopsies. The HuffFund is our attempt to change this.”
This is yet another gathering of journalists--some professional, some freelance, some quite probably amateur--who will keep a watchful eye on that which needs to be monitored. I have no thought that the franchise will die just because the building is crumbling. Journalism is about journalists, not about fat, lazy, incompetent executives who have given journalism its version of Wall Street and big auto. It's going to be just fine, thank you, because, frankly, good journalists don't do it for the money, anyway.