In my own li’l quixotic quest to sum up 2013 –not for publication; really, only for my personal consumption– I stumbled across the linked column (below; maybe too far below) by Philly Daily News columnist Will Bunch.
It’s an excellent read: a lament on the rapidly passing “local journalism” engendered by a failing economy –and yes: despite the spin of political opportunists of all stripes, it still is– also the onward-march of a technology with priorities other than journalism.
In his column, Will pens an obit, of sorts, to one local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
But Will’s column is also more. In microcosm, as well as IMHO, it fleshes out why 2013 was such a disheartening, dismal year. As one perceptive individual –and subsequently, thousands of City Editors– once noted, “All news is local.” That is: what happens nationally, impacts locally.
Why have the NSA disclosures, the website-and-more Obamacare debacle, and a dozen-plus other “scandals” burst upon all of us in a single twelve-month period?
I’ll posit my own, albeit bleak, answer: journalism itself has failed.
As journalists, we do no favors to anybody –not the public, certainly; but not those whose ideologies we may favor and wish to protect either– when we fail to aggressively probe and stridently challenge and oft-arrogantly question.
And largely, that’s precisely what we’ve failed to do.
Would the NSA’s tentacles gotten so tightly wrapped around American privacy… would the false “you can keep etc.” ramifications had such ultimate, destructive impact… would ANY of the other 2013 disclosures have so profoundly rocked our society as a whole…
…had we journalists simply DONE OUR JOB: had fearlessly probed the “national security” secrets, had diligently read and honestly analyzed “the legislation,” had– well, had provided the public with the non-spin’d information to make a truly informed choice?
Will Bunch ends his own piece with a lament. In it, he “localizes the news” by focusing on the neglect-rooted death of American industrialized urban centers, where both prosperity AND good journalism once flourished.
But as you read it, I’d urge all of us –journalists, and the public as a whole– to also consider it as a microcosm of where we, as a nation, precariously teeter as 2013 draws to a close. Here’s what Will wrote. Pray, as I do, that it is a premature obit of the American Ideal.
“It’s a very very sad day — not just for the journalists involved, but for all of us. For more than 40 years, we’ve seen America’s once-great cities dying from neglect, from bad policies and worse politicians, and from the greed that moved people’s jobs out of town and then across the sea —
— but things might have been even worse if some great journalists hadn’t been there to occasionally yell, “Timber!” Now even that legacy of the Industrial Revolution is coming to an end. Now we can only wonder: If a smokestack falls in the city and no one is there to record it, does it make a sound?”
— Earl Merkel
(Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/The-de-newspaperization-of-America.html#uB1TG4ZiWvjse4qZ.99)
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Watch the “video book trailer” for my thriller, FINAL EPIDEMIC, offered for your minute-and-a-few-seconds consideration at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB5wr3f_fRU&feature=youtu.be
And if you liked THAT, you might enjoy my earlier DIY book-video; please feel free to view the FIRE OF THE PROPHET video-trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mQSquiOzE0&feature=youtu.be
(As always, these videos are best-experienced at full-screen, “max” audio settings.)