Five Politics Daily staffers -- Carl Cannon, Melinda Henneberger, Walter Shapiro, David Wood and James Grady -- are joining in an online discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Timesreporter Sydney Schanberg about politics and the press as seen through the prism of his new book, "Beyond the Killing Fields."
Here is Schanberg's response to David Wood, who lamented the shrinkingof foreign news bureaus and asked Schanberg how the great tradition can be kept alive.
With life on our planet spinning faster and faster on the electronic wings of the digital revolution, I haveno simple answers.
There is no way to turn back the clock. The world has embraced the new technology, and as I see it, the craft of credible, serious journalism is in a state of chaos.
Money is atthe heart of the issue. Papers have lost much of their advertising to the Internet, which so far has produced sparse original reporting considering the volume of websites, choosing instead tocherry-pick from newspapers without compensating them.
Also, Internet sites have decided that their audiences want shorter, splashier articles, not lengthy, detailed ones that often force governments andcorporations to correct errant ways of dealing with the public.
Papers are disappearing into bankruptcy on a regular basis. Those that remain are struggling to find a business model that can stillsupport in-depth reporting. The best journalism costs serious money. I'm referring to investigative journalism, which is especially costly because it can take months for a team of reporters to bring fortha solid, major story. In the past, these came almost entirely from a small number of major newspapers and a few magazines.
As newspapers and their staffs have shrunk, so has that special product,which is crucial for any healthy democracy based on a well-informed public. Those still standing have created their own websites to seek new advertising revenue, but the money gap has not closed. And...
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