All over the country, and the world, newspapers have been especially hard hit by the tough financial times. Sadly, it’s the general public paying the price.
With little to no money for writers, and a skeleton crew staff so sparse were it human it would be missing limbs, newspapers’ content has pretty much gone to hell.
One person who has noticed is none other than Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who apparently took the media to task on the floor of the House last week.
I get his point, I really do. When I earned my master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, I certainly had no intention of doing anything else.
But alas, American businesses–no matter what the type–have to follow the bottom line. And when executives run publications like any other business, an editorial department full of staff probably seems like a big, useless expense, especially when it’s primarily advertising that pays the bills.
But this short-sightedness has resulted in the current media environment–crappy news coverage, little local input, and barely enough pages to cover the dog’s wee-wee pads.
You cut the writers you lose the readers. It’s as simple as that.
And Kennedy does have a point–it’s deplorable that there aren’t more reporters running around the capitol or embedded in the Middle East.
But when you’ve got no staff, and the bankruptcy judge isn’t about to okay sending writers all the way to Afghanistan or Iraq, lowest-common-denominator coverage is what you get.
Massa’s an easy story–he’s stateside and sensationalism sells ads.
And if Kennedy and his cohorts are that upset, why not toss some of that bailout money reporters’ way?
I will jump at any chance to write, and I’m sure my equally un- or under-employed peers will do the same. It’s just not possible when no one’s wiling to pay the uncomfortable–and unpopular in the board room–price.
But really, the answer is simple: Put your money where your mouth is and let the watchdogs get back to work.