Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Newspaper, A Candidate, and Chris Cannon's Brother

From the UDP Blog today:

Republican editor Joe Cannon and his Deseret Morning News continued their unabashed promotion of “hometown boy” Mitt Romney with two Page 1 reports published on Dec. 30 (one report mentioned Romney’s name 28 times the other was a fluff piece about his son Josh and campaign volunteers).

The number of Romney-focused stories generated by Cannon’s staff and published on Page 1 in 2007 was 69. With 36 days to go before the Utah presidential primary and 389 before the general election, other candidates merited no more than two stories.
Throughout 2007 Cannon’s reporters and editors looked into their crystal ball to produce stories with headlines such as “Romney is likely a shoo-in in Iowa” (Aug. 9) and stories forecasting Romney wins in Utah: “Most Utahns already have decided they want GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to win …” (Page 1, Dec. 30).
I remember reading in some text book from some media class I was taking to get some degree, some time ago, that the greatest challenge facing today's news media was the careful balance of "running the business" (i.e. giving your readers the stories they want) and maintaining journalistic integrity (i.e. giving your readers the stories they need). The author of the book predicted that media executives would fail on this account, make the choice of dollar signs and fluff reporting, rather than actually work at being "watchdogs of democracy." He also predicted that "some new form of media" would rise to the challenge, filling the gap that these poor choices would create between voters and an actual picture of the world around them.

What he suggested (and this was circa 1995) was that "something new" would give citizens the information they crave, once they realize they have forsaken an informed view for schlock journalism and Anna Nicole Smith. Personally, I think we are seeing the seedling of that rejection today, with failing newsprint revenues, the growing volume of user-driven media content, burgeoning support for local independent radio, and, of course, the popularity of the blog.

Incidentally, Joe's bro has one of those. It's not much better.

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