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Thursday, March 10, 2005

This interview with Bill Moyers in the Santa Barbara Independent is mirrored at, a media reform organization based in my original hometown. It's sad to see Moyers so discouraged about television journalism. This is the last question in the interview. (See the rest of the interview for Moyers' comments on the president, the war and the state of the media.)

If you were a young man coming up today, do you think you'd go into journalism again?

If you want to go cover Michael Jackson, I guess yes. But if you want to be a serious student and analyst of the world, if you want to do really good journalism and journalism that tells the truth as you see it, then broadcast journalism is not the place to go today.

There are still good newspapers. If you're young today and you have a fire in your belly, you've got to follow it because it's that fire that will sustain you in moments of low wages, in the face of indifferent editors and hostile owners, and a public at large that doesn't care. But if it were me, I'd probably do the same thing over again.

Maybe the Web, small digital video cameras and experiments from videoblogs to IndTV will inspire a new generation of video storytellers. And maybe online newspapers, blogs, or somthing in between will figure out a way to do something about that "low wages... indifferent editors... hostile owners" troika for "print" journalism students.

There may be more encouragement here, or maybe not... a blog entry and links to the MediaCenter "Vanishing Newspaper" webcast on Wednesday, including panelist comments. I'm really glad that J got there from Harvard and took notes. I didn't, and I haven't had time to view the whole thing yet, but I may add to this post when I've collected a few more links and thoughts.

I definitely plan to pursue the event's followup topic, "Vanishing Journalism Schools."

Personally, I feel courses in journalism (from fact-finding to editing) are valuable for plenty of people out there writing -- whether they do weblogs or restaurant menus or keep putting content-free headings like "Hi!" on e-mail. Coincidentally, Online Journalism Review is starting a journalism-education WIKI... something else for the "when I get around to it" list. But first, I have a pile of journalism students' work to grade!

12:23:33 PM    

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