Not “out of print” at all, just out to lunch

Eric Alterman’s article (“Out of Print, The death and life of the American newspaper” in The New Yorker) about journalism is wrongheaded and off-base. As someone who really loves newspapers wants them to survive, I was surprised by how inadequate to the circumstances it was. His example of an alternative, the Huffington Post, is a great site but is not journalism as we value it nor a business model to follow. Despite its traffic, the site does not support a newsroom of reporters, and every post is heavily opinionated. How is this site (or the Drudge report, or any similar site) relevant to the troubles facing the journalism business? They are just less valuable versions of existing media. Actual new forms of media like Wikipedia, Flickr, Newsvine, and other participatory content sites have the potential to increase our connectedness and make our media culture more human. In setting up a conflict between these sites as populist and journalism as elitist, the article is comparing apples to oranges. As the article points out, social news sites base a lot of their opinion on the work of journalists, and it could be vice versa. The better answer to the choice between the two is “yes.” Smarter thinking is needed to create a model where both can exist — they need each other.