By Julie Tangen
I did a double take when I saw the San Francisco Chronicle (or what’s left of it) on the newsstand today. Sadly, San Francisco's last paid-circulation daily paper has dwindled down to just a few pages of content. It’s not just our city, though. Across the U.S. we’ve seen circulation numbers plunging, ad revenue dropping, staffs being slashed, papers folding and many others declaring bankruptcy. Why? I believe it’s partly due to the fact that we—as consumers of news—have just become too darn impatient. Today, Facebook, Twitter and blogs give us our news as it happens (for free) and the bottom line is that we no longer need to buy a newspaper to find out what’s happening in our world.
While it’s much easier to follow a favorite blogger or Twitterer, I can’t help but wonder if and how this hurts traditional reporting. A journalist (ideally) has a professional responsibility to verify information, check sources, print facts, portray the story from different viewpoints, and have a pretense of being objective. To this end, what a journalist writes has gone through some sort of peer or editorial review process. If publications continue to cut staff and resources, this level of responsibility will surely change. But will this change be for better or for worse? Do you think this new age of ‘digital journalism’ will provide new and better ways of telling a story or are we trading quality of reporting for instant access?
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