hidden hit counter
From the Latest Entry...
I read about this interesting idea the other day in the New York Times. It suggests that in the future perhaps only that reporting which people will directly pay for will be done. Does this mean that journalism goes out only to the highest bidder? What about the stories that nobody wishes to see the…

You Get What you Pay For

I read about this interesting idea the other day in the New York Times. It suggests that in the future perhaps only that reporting which people will directly pay for will be done. Does this mean that journalism goes out only to the highest bidder? What about the stories that nobody wishes to see the light of day?

From Sarah Kersaw’s story in the Times: “The idea, which they are calling “community-funded journalism,” is now being tested in the San Francisco Bay area, where a new nonprofit, Spot Us, is using its Web site, spot.us, to solicit ideas for investigative articles and the money to pay for the reporting. But the experiment has also raised concerns of journalism being bought by the highest bidder.

“The idea is that anyone can propose a story, though the editors at Spot Us ultimately choose which stories to pursue. Then the burden is put on the citizenry, which is asked to contribute money to pay upfront all of the estimated reporting costs. If the money doesn’t materialize, the idea goes unreported.

Jay Rosen, whose blog I link to here on my blog roll, had this to say in the story about journalism today: ““We’re at a point now where nobody actually knows where the money is going to come from for editorial goods in the future. My own feeling is that we need to try lots of things. Most of them won’t work. You’ll have a lot of failure. But we need to launch a lot of boats.”

Posted by Joel on August 28 2008 • Journalism

What Does It Mean to Read?

Are we still a nation of readers? Test scores, surveys, and just our own assessment of how we spend our free time today tell us that something has changed over the past few decades. We aren’t spending as much time with the written word as we once did. Of course, I’m over exagerating the problem, but many scholars and teachers feel that American students don’t read as much as they should. It affects everything else they will do in school, experts say. Is there really a problem?

This article in the New York Times does a good job looking at the problem. Nadia, the typical American teenager introduced to us in the story, doesn’t read in her spare time. Instead she text-messages her friends, spends time online in chat rooms and on favorite Web sites. “Children like Nadia lie at the heart of a passionate debate about just what it means to read in the digital age. The discussion is playing out among educational policy makers and reading experts around the world, and within groups like the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association,” writes reporter Motoko Rich.

“As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading — diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.” It’s an interesting debate, and passions run high on both sides of the issue.

Posted by Joel on August 02 2008 • Books