When Quillnews was employed in the newspaper trades, there were dozens of pros at each editing level – old timers at the boro, metro, city, news, copy desks who all seemed to exist to toss me and every other reporter questions we couldn’t answer without more work! As news budgets came under continuing pressure, newsroom executives aimed first at the low hanging fruit – the old timers everyone thought were a big pain anyway. Consequently, those people and the honest editing discipline they imposed are long gone from every newsroom.
One usually smart cookie, WSJ Noonan, has an interesting idea on what CBS and the nets should do when Rather retires: hire all these old geezers back! Quillnews hint: don’t hold your breath. Star and celebrity still power the MSM business model – stars attract the mass viewers the mass advertisers demand or else.
Count on Quillnews to be among the most vigorous of MSM critics. But let’s not get carried away – the MSM is the man. Remember the numbers: Fox’s O’Reilly, the oh-so-significant-hottie of the cable moment, gets 3 million viewers a night; CBS’s Rather, the soon to be out to pasture also-ran in the nets and object of late night jokes, gets 8 million a night! Hmmm.
One advantage of the new technology is that blogs are beginning to fulfill some of the editing role that has been absent from newsrooms for the past quarter century. But keep in mind: as necessary a role as blogs fulfill to keep the MSM honest, blogs are in fact derivative! The core reporting functions of the AP, Bloomberg, DJ, WSJ, WP, CT, NYT, LAT, FT and many others together with the core info distributions networks maintained by the MSM remains the core engine of public information for our society. Quillnews advise to MSM: the mission of the MSM is too important to our democracy to be left to MSM alone – so count on getting lots of help.