Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mellissa Fung & journalism

I rarely venture outside the realm of sports and culture on this blog, but I am greatly pleased to read that Mellissa Fung, a classmate of mine at Columbia University some years ago, was released by her captors in Afghanistan, and that journalists cooperated so intelligently to help her live. Story from the Globe and Mail here, and click here for the CBC interview with Fung.


With the major changes happening in the media (pity the people of Los Angeles who only have a shell of a newspaper), I think we tend to forget the importance of quote-unquote mainstream journalists, and how many of them put their lives on the line to tell us stories of grand importance. While I think blogging and social media have a significant place in our media landscape, we should not simply do away with professional watchdogs. The Los Angeles Times seems to be laying off Pulitzer Prize winners every week, and they are not alone...Newspapers probably won't be around in ten years, but journalists are not simply moving on-line, they are leaving the profession. Difficulties in the newspaper business model should not mean destroying a profession built to help people stay informed. Media companies and the public need to reassess the value of journalism, and journalists, for the public good.

In a similar vein, I write about the impact of our modern preoccupations with news speed, not context, and how it relates to sports journalism in an upcoming issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. When it get closer to the publication date, I will have a link on In The Fray.


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