Saturday, February 7, 2009

NY Times' Bill Keller

Reading through NY Times' executive editor, Bill Keller's, Q&A this portion really struck a cord with me.
"I've laid out my basic reasons for optimism on many occasions, and they still seem to hold water.First, there is a diminishing supply of quality journalism, and a growing demand. By quality journalism I mean the kind that involves experienced reporters going places, bearing witness, digging into records, developing sources, checking and double-checking, backed by editors who try to enforce high standards. I mean journalism that, however imperfect, labors hard to be trustworthy, to supply you with the information you need to be an engaged citizen. The supply of this kind of journalism is declining because it is hard, expensive, sometimes dangerous work. The traditional practitioners of this craft — mainly newspapers — have been downsizing or declaring bankruptcy. The wonderful florescence of communication ignited by the Internet contains countless voices riffing on the journalism of others but not so many that do serious reporting of their own."
This past week it really started to bother me how everyone, who isn't a journalist, criticizes journalists. So, I am mostly referring to where Keller says that quality journalism "is hard, expensive, and dangerous work." And criticism on the internet is boundless, criticizing these hard-working journalists but none of them are trying to do something better.

I think that journalism should be as honest as possible, truly. But I am also a believer that people are just people and often make mistakes. And journalists are people on deadline. I know from working at the Collegian and meeting fellow journalists, that we all do our best. It bothers me that the general public does not understand that. They don't understand how hard it is to get every little detail completely right. People can lie to journalists, and say misleading things. Much of our information comes directly from the people. The fact is that quality in-depth reporting is truly one of the hardest things to do, and I just wish that the general public would give us more credit. Or at least shut up and try doing it themselves.

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