David Cohn points us to Stop The Presses, The American Newspaper In Peril, which recently premiered at the AFI/Dallas Film Festival. He takes issue with the closing quote of the trailer — “Democracy doesn’t have a chance without newspapers” — and so do I.
Newspaper is a medium.
What’s important for democracy is an institutional watchdog, which has historically been the role of people who work for newspapers. I agree that democracy needs watchdog journalism — what Dave calls enterprise reporting. But I disagree than the delivery mechanism must be exclusively dead-tree based.
I’m not ignoring the business model issues — merely stating what seems to me to be the obvious. Good reporting is good reporting and should transcend the medium. Might the story be presented differently online than in print? Sure! Use the medium’s strengths rather than lamenting the birth of yet another delivery method. There will always be yet-another technology. Always.
Watch the trailer: