Comment 41740

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 08, 2010 at 23:53:16

You're wanting them to go back in time : )

Indeed. I just read a post by Bill Dunphy that makes a similar argument:

In his talk, [Kenneth] Whyte pointed out that back in Hearst's time, when he took on Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, newspapers were funded by readers - they lived and died on their circulation revenue, on the pennies and nickels of a vast and fickle readership.

Newspapers did not cloak themselves in objectivity, but rather wore their partisanship proudly.

They fought for their readers daily, chasing scoops and pushing out extra editions in a frantic effort to catch the readers eye. If they succeeded it was because they gave voice to their reader's fears and foibles, because they championed them and cared for them.

Because they served them.

The rise of mass market advertising, however, supplanted this model with newspapers that strove, not to grab readers by the throat, or to be their voice, but rather to speak blandly to the greatest number of readers, so they could deliver the largest possible market for their advertisers.

Whyte appeared to be saying that the 'modern' journalist's embracing of objectivity is nothing more than making a virtue of a vice.

The dismantling of the advertising driven model - or at least the version we've been familiar with for the past several decades - is leading us closer to that earlier model, when newspapers had to serve readers first in order to earn their pennies.

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