The Digital Threat to Quality Journalism

Digital technology is seriously threatening the business model of daily and weekly newspapers. Press response is to cut costs and in time that means cutting the breadth of quality journalism which has fed our society so richly. What is most at risk is the volume of comment which encourages us not only to know what is going on but to interpret what it means.

The Web already relies on cut down versions of Press reporting and in the future those cutdowns may well be based on much poorer source content where spin may go effectively unchallenged. A cutdown of a cutdown. Does it matter? The New York Review of Books recently published this article by David Bromwich. It explores in pretty stark terms what happens when euphemisms go unchallenged.

What is crucial is that it explores deliberate obfuscation in a world which does still have dynamic independent journalism (this article is a splendid example of it!). As a result, it gives a real sense of what we stand to lose and why it matters vitally.

Our scenarios will need to build in potential solutions because the issue comes up in different ways from many of the participants.


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