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Why We Should Care About the Decline in Traditional Journalism

Friday the Anchorage Daily News announced they would be laying off more staff, something we seem to read about daily from newspapers around the country. At the same time, radio and television news crews are also crunched for staff. A recent Harris Poll reported just “two in five Americans read a newspaper almost every day.” Many of you may be saying, yeah, yeah, why would I?

A confession: I still take the daily paper. My husband and I (he more than me) want to touch the paper. We like drinking our coffee and turning the pages. It’s what we’ve done for many years and our parents did as well.  Okay, we’re also baby boomers.

Today many of us get our news from 140 characters and not even the1-2 minute sound bites of television news. But what we’re not getting there is the real story, the in depth analysis that causes us to think, question and wonder. In today’s news environment, Woodward and Bernstein would never have been able to report on Watergate; Julia O’Malley (Anchorage Daily News columnist who’s terrific) would not have been able to share with so many the heart-wrenching story of a soldier injured in the Middle East and many in-depth examinations of what’s happening in our world.

Blogs and other online communiqué are replacing traditional journalists one by one. As one of those bloggers, realizing I am new one, I believe we have an obligation to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (yes…so help me God). We need to take a few minutes to make sure what we’re saying is accurate and forthright.

In the traditional media world, there are checks and balances that (most of the time) make sure that happens. As a blogger though, I’m pretty sure most of us don’t have editors looking over our shoulders to question what we’re writing and make sure it’s true, accurate and complete.

How do you balance the need to be first against the need to be correct? Have you missed being first but then found your story, just a day later, is more accurate and thorough? How have you handled the situation if you see something you think it inaccurate?

By |2018-03-18T23:03:32+00:00January 19th, 2010|Leadership & Networking|2 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


  1. Gina Romero January 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Putting on my former news producer hat, in this climate, journalists need to be first AND be correct. If a story breaks, journalsits have tools (iPhones, etc.) to report the news in real time, then to drive readers to the newscast or Web site for the in-depth coverage. It is happening to a certain extent locally, but not enough. I am now out of news and like many, have my own blog. As a blogger, I would rather post a quality article once a month, then fill content every just for the sake of giving new content. That is my two cents.

    • mary January 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      I agree with you Gina and hope we’ll start to see more of a combination of caution and also further use of the Web/indepth tools here locally this year. Some have made great strides already and others are playing catch up. I think your blog will be a great place for conversations in our community too.

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