Is News Getting Better?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 21 2011 @ 8:33pm

Jay Rosen and Nick Carr are debating the Internet's impact on journalism. Carr doesn't believe that news coverage has improved:

If lone-wolf reporting is suffering in the web era, pack journalism is thriving, as evidenced by the swarming coverage of the Casey Anthony trial and the Anthony Weiner scandal. "The new paradox of journalism is more outlets covering fewer stories," notes the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. What we are discovering is that in a world where advertisers pay by the click and readers read by the click, editorial attention and resources tend to become more concentrated and more keyed to spectacles. The upshot, contrary to Mr Rosen's rosy assumption, is a division of journalistic labour that is even less sane than it used to be. Gadget blogs and gossip sites boom, while government beats go untrodden.

Jay Rosen counters in his concluding remarks:

I want to offer my riskiest argument for why the internet is making journalism better. Riskiest, because the chance of being misunderstood is the highest. The net will make journalism better because it has to become better to survive. For instance, do you want to charge for news and information on the internet? Don't even try unless you are adding a lot more value than the average daily newspaper ever did. But people will try, and what they offer will be better. Journalism will survive and improve because there is public demand for it, and because there are people who desperately want to be journalists, who cannot imagine doing anything else, who will fight for a professional life in journalism.

Matt Lutton explains the above video:

Phillip Mendonça-Vieira, a Canadian developer, ran a linux script that collected screenshots from the New York Times’ front page twice an hour from September 2010 to July 2011, some 12,000 images that he stiched together to make an fascinating time-lapse of how the news of the day is being displayed. And what a year we’ve had… the Chilean Miners incident, all of Arab Spring, the Japanese Tsunami, NATO intervention in Libya. Mendonça-Vieira writes about the process of creating the video on his website.