"Newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23% in the last two years. ... By our calculations, nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet," reads the summary of the "State of the News Media 2009" report. In local television, "revenues fell by 7% in an election year -- something unheard of -- and ratings are now falling or are flat across the schedule." News "audience migration to the Internet is now accelerating," but "online ad revenue to news websites now appears to be flattening; in newspapers it is declining. ...
In the spring semester of 2008, I was a fellow researching a paper on think tank ethics ("The Perils of Non-Profit Journalism") at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. I was thus pleased when the New America Foundation's President, Steve Coll, spoke at the Shorenstein Center on March 11, 2008, and expressed his commitment to high ethical standards for journalists, researchers and other think tank staff.
The New America Foundation is a Washington, DC based think tank that has pioneered the introduction of journalism to the traditional think tank mix of advocacy and research. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Steve Coll is the former Managing Editor of the Washington Post and spent 20 years at the Post as a reporter and editor. Currently, in addition to serving as New America's President, Mr. Coll writes a column for The New Yorker magazine. Launched in 1999, the New America Foundation currently employs more than 100 individuals and has an annual budget of over $10 million. Its Chairman of the Board is Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, Inc.
Aaron Glantz, the author of books about Iraq including The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle against America's Veterans, has written a powerful and emotional account of his encounter with a veteran who told him that his reporting "saved my life." Glantz has written about James Eggemeyer, an Iraq war veteran whose war injuries left him disabled and homeless while the Veterans Administration dithered on his disability
"What happens when media monitors mangle journalism in ways far more severe than the work they're supposed to be appraising?" asks Eric Boehlert, analyzing a supposed critique of liberal media bias by conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg. Boehlert catches Goldberg in numerous distortions and outright falsehoods.
"You want to make sure you edit it in the right way," said Major Alayne Conway, who served as a U.S. military public affairs officer in Iraq.
On January 26, the New York Times examined "The Epidemic That Wasn't" -- breathless news reporting from the 1980s that predicted an epidemic of irreparable damage to inner-city children whose mothers used crack cocaine. Actually, it turns out, the so-called "crack babies" are doing fine.
"In what may be a sign that we're approaching the time for last resorts, discussion of government funding for American journalism is gaining traction," writes Bill Mitchell of the Poynter Institute. "If government funding plans are among our options, let's explore them now, before the pressure's on to accept desperate measures without sufficient time to consider the consequences." In the Los Angeles Times, Geneva Overholser and Geoffrey Cowan point out that American journalism is suffering its own financial crisis, even though more people are consuming news than ever before.
There's an aphorism that journalists should "follow the money," but it is sobering to see how few do.