Is journalism dead, near dead, or rising from the ashes?

The Huffington Post has a couple of interesting articles on the direction of journalism today. It is a weird time for news, as the old media and the new media continue to collide. There is much finger pointing going around, with many old media journalists and owners trying to make a fiscally sound transition to new media while simultaneously complaining that new media bloggers and news aggregation sites (like the HuffPost).

If you drop by the HuffPost, it looks just like CNN these days....a long way from the blogger beginnings of the site.

It is not at all clear to me that you can replace news organizations with a bunch of bloggers--news/opinion blogs work because they link to and comment on news articles. Now you can argue that the news articles are often heavily biased one way or the other, but there is still a different quality to even a biased news report compared to a blog post commenting on that report.

Maybe there is no longer much need for big national have local news organizations (local radio, TV, news), and outfits like HuffPost aggregate local news into a "view" of national news.

But who then covers "national" and "world" news? Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. wants to charge for it, and the Wall Street Journal is already doing so successfully. And to muddy the waters even more, the FTC says it is considering providing subsidies to news organizations. It is hard to see how that could turn out well--do you really want a government bureaucrat deciding which newspapers and TV stations ought to get free government money at the expense of those stations and outlets that don't? And what if the government doesn't like the point of view your news organization embraces? This is a double-edged sword of exquisite sharpness.

Hat tip to Ed Dreistadt, who is always thinking about these issues.

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