Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Rocky Mountain News

Via Leslie, I watched this poignant video chronicling the last month of the paper. What I was thinking as I was watching it was that the value of good reporting has never been highlighted by anyone very well. CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the "news" that many people watch and pay attention to has never been about good reporting. So people don't know what they're missing. I don't think, as a couple of reporters said, that blogs are much to blame. In the grand scheme of things, people mostly don't get their news from blogs. It seems to me that the advent of 24 hour news channels, the Internet, and an administration who thought the news was like an annoying puppy conspired to create a bad environment for real news. So when the economy tanks, it seems like you're cutting out the fat when you cut out the news rather than throwing away the meat.

My own papers, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Delaware County News, declared bankruptcy this week. I've been reading my news online for years and these papers have the crappiest web sites I've ever seen. I suspect that they lost quite a few readers that way. And quite frankly, my local paper doesn't seem to cover very important stories. Quite often, it reprints stories from the Inquirer and the local stories all bleed. There's very little coverage of local politics or really local anything that isn't crime related. I think one reason blogs have bcome popular is that people are craving something more than the "if it bleeds it leads" kind of stories. And blogs may not always be good journalism, but at least for the very best of them, their content is substantive. My impression is that the Rocky did have substantive content and was a good paper. It's sad that the community lost that. I'm sure it will be missed.

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

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