8. Journalism Going to Hell in a Hand Basket?
RCS: In a recent interview, Bill Simmons was asked about the future of journalism, to which he replied, "I'm terrified. I think it's going to hell in a hand basket. The emphasis is on quantity over quality and immediacy over accuracy; the newspapers have made it worse by trying to speed up their immediacy online over just kicking everyone's asses with better writing and reporting."
Do you agree with Simmons? Is journalism "going to hell in a hand basket"?
Brennan: I’m concerned, so yes, I would agree with Bill on the general point he’s making.
Two weeks ago, I got a bird’s eye view of what can happen when the blogosphere takes something and runs with it without any context or without anyone taking a deep breath and saying, "Wait a minute here. Can we step back for a second and look at what someone said and look at the whole interview and not cherry-pick pieces of it?" But there's no time for that on the internet. And that can be troubling. That said, I'm a "big kid," as my late father used to say, and I certainly can handle any criticism that comes my way.
The irony is that I love the internet. I started my own website in early 2006, and I think I was part of an early wave of print journalists to do that. I love e-mail, I enjoy talking with readers and interacting with them. I love our technological world.
But my concern also comes from what I've seen happen in that world. I hope we don't lose sight of the difference between trained journalists and those who are not trained. By no means am I saying that people can't blog or give their opinion, not at all. But what I am saying is we all need to be careful and take a step back and remember that there are people who have been trained for years to do this, to report and commentate. It's a wonderful gift we’ve been given with the First Amendment to speak our minds in this country, and I hope we don’t abuse that gift.