Who hasn’t thrown a copy of the morning paper across the room in disgust? Who hasn’t been dumbstruck by sloppy reporting on a subject you happen to know well? Who doesn’t know that the typical newsroom is not staffed by H. L. Mencken, Walter Lippmann, and. . . and. . . I’m groping for another justly celebrated journalist, and will get back to you on this.
But in the meantime, seriously, we must again invoke the dread law of ICAGWO: It Could Always Get Worse, and Worse may be closer than we think. It’s no secret that some major American newspapers in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are in bad financial shape, ravaged by the well-documented rise of the Web.
Both articles describe what the future might look like with even less intelligent, independent news gathering than we have now. And don’t tell me bloggers will fill the vacuum; without the reporting of the big papers to chew on, spit out and snark about, most bloggers would be writing about their morning trip to Starbucks.
That’s why I’m more than half-serious when I say the O-Team may have to find a few billion out of the TARP or other coffers to give these papers a lifeline. This is far from ideal, but if we don’t, and the big papers go the way of the brontosaurus, I’m not sure what kind of coverage bloggers will provide in trouble spots like Kanduhar, Nairobi and Mogadishu. And how would the blogosphere cover this story?