Alterman on Journalism in the New Yorker

Eric Alterman, who writes on the news media regularly in The Nation magazine, has an interesting article in the current issue of The New Yorker on the decline of the newspaper: Out of Print: the Death and Life of the American Newspaper. I thought I knew a bit about what was happening to American newspapers, but this article taught me a bit more and also gave me a little more historical perspective than I had.

In library school, I had some professors (one in particular) who took it for granted, as I did, that journalism was a central concern for librarians, and I also knew students who didn’t quite see a connection and wondered why we had to discuss it as much as we did. I think it’s important enough to what we do that we should have a required course in it (possibly a combined course on journalism and publishing). If our métier is information, we should know about how it’s generated and care about the state of the institutions that generate that information…

3 comments on “Alterman on Journalism in the New Yorker

  1. Ben Bagdikian’s THE MEDIA MONOPOLY, venerable though it is now, is still quite instructive, too.

    Unless we LIS professionals understand the nature of the real political economy of information, Librarians will have a warped understanding of what counts as “reliable” information when it comes to collection development decisions.

  2. A friend of mine worked as a journalist for a newspaper in this area, but left after it was taken over by large newspaper chain that doesn’t seem to place a high value on investigative reporting. See:

    He now works for a legal public interest research organization. The tv show The Wire highlighted this problem during its final season this year.

  3. I’m far behind on my blog reading and hence just getting to this, but I wanted to chime in. My advisor in library school had Neil Postman as her dissertation director, but everyone else just looked at me blankly when I started talking about media ownership.

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