According to the SF Chronicle, the SF Chronicle is going to need to find a buyer right away or close the paper altogether if there aren’t some serious cuts made. Perhaps this is all to play hard ball with the local unions, but it’s a rather sobering realization about the state of our regional newspaper. While, the SF Chronicle (and other non-Alameda based publications) have not done the best job lately (cougheastbayexpresscoughalltvnewsstationscough) of appropriately covering Alameda issues that are either (1) relevant, (2) a large marjority of people care about, or (3) factual… the demise of a local paper like the Chronicle is something to lament.
Journalism has gotten to a place where it has been redefined into what it will be for the next few decades. Whereas journalism used to be about doing due diligence, talking to all sides, and then presenting the “truth” as best as one trained individual could present that truth. Now journalism has turned into this bastion of requiring “unbiased” and unfiltered information to be presented out to the masses in order to please as many people as possible, but with the result that no one is really informed.
Journalism is now about presenting both sides of the story, even with one side of the story is teetering on tin foil hat territory. To me, that is not journalism, that’s laziness on the part of the reporter. Way back in the day when I was in school and doing my internships at local media outlets someone once told me, “Reporters are inherently lazy.” And damned if that person wasn’t right. With constrained deadlines and now consolidation and cutbacks, reporters are required to churn out information as quick as possible. The best way to not run into problems is to glean on to some Press Release or keep going back to the same source for the same type of line that you know you are going to get from that person in order to not have to do any real work.
The notion that there can be no bias in a newsroom or a news report is naive. The editorial decision to write a story in the first place is the first indication of bias. And then it becomes a freefall from there. Which is why defining journalism as the presentation of unbiased information is a fallacy from the start. I can get “both sides” of any story by just standing on any corner. I can’t get the truth doing that.
For good or for bad, I believe the onus will now be on audiences (you and I) to sort through the mess of the newspapers that will be left in the wake of all this. We will, of course, bring our own biases to how we read each and every piece of media that floats our way, but in this new age of information, that’s the best we can hope for and at this point because of the lack of good solid journalism about Alameda from the mainstream media, we can only rely on non-traditional outlets (local newspaper, blogs, online news sources) to provide us with the information and then come to the conclusion on our own.