Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Next: Cycle path killers?

One of the more puerile features of the Vicad these days is the goof-on-the-street brief, where a reporter goes out and asks random people their opinion on various topics. Sometimes they are cogent comments, sometimes they are drool, but they are all reported seriously. In the one that ran today, a respondent is identified as a 'nature path physician.' Guess the kid who did the interviewing hadn't heard of naturopaths [not that that's an all-bad thing]. Too often ignorant reporters take a stab at unknown words and miss, and then there's not an experienced editor to excise the error.
When I look at the photos of the current staff, I think that the pix could have come from a middle-school yearbook. Those kids are so young. I hope they're still getting allowances from their parents, as I'd hate to think of anyone trying to live on a reporter salary these days. Former colleague of mine once said that it was a sad thing for someone to reach middle age and still be living with roommates or in an efficiency apartment in a bad complex, be driving a 10-year-old compact car, and taking all vacations visiting family to save hotel room expenses. That's the lot of a reporter on a smaller paper. Unfortunately, on a big paper, the reporter's lot is likely to be imminent unemployment.
Brett Arends, in his ROI column on MarketWatch, writes on the crunch that is bearing down on journalism. His concluding paragraphs:
So long as news tries to live off online advertising alone, the future for journalists is not bright. Journalism may become like acting or being a musician: There will be fewer full-time jobs, and they will pay poorly. A lot of news writing will end up being done by amateurs, those with day jobs or by kids just out of college, sharing rooms in Brooklyn, N.Y., before they go on to "real" careers.
What that may portend for the quality of reporting is another matter. If we end up living on a content diet of propaganda, celebrity gossip and free blogs, too bad.

You can read the whole thing here. Arends has some painful numbers on the possibility of newspapers being able to make the nut by selling clicks.
And the paper today was thin, despite this being the traditional season for big ad sales.


Sugar Magnolia said...

"Nature Path Physician"? I can't believe it. Even for the VicAd, this is so beyond the pale that it is simply unbelievable. Those wet-behind the ears carpetbaggers REALLY need to go back home and give someone here with a little more sense and a smattering of maturity a crack at a job. This is so sad I can't even make fun of it. Did you ever think you would see the day, Mr. Loon, when journalistic integrity would slip this far into the abyss? I just am completely agape here....

Edith Ann said...

I never dreamed of a day when the reader would have this much interaction with the newspaper.

I liked it when my grandfather would read the paper and then make some kind of snarky remark about what he had just read. That was it. He was done, and he repeated the exercise all over again the next day.

And, yeah, you know it has to be bad if you can't find the heart to poke fun, Sugar. I can't either.