Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Health of the industry

Bill Boyarsky found this article from the LA Times, and uses it to illustrate where our industry is at.

Written by three reporters, it examines the state of our health care system in depth, and uncovers some disturbing facts along the way.

But that article isn't the point. Good or bad, it's unlikely you'll see many more like it in the future. As Boyarsky notes, the new mantra of "less is more" means coverage too. One story, one reporter.

Of course, our own industry doesn't seem to care. First Dean Singleton, who's swept through the industry like influenza, was elected chairman of the board for the Associated Press. Although his staff-slashing has probably done more to boost AP's position than anything else in recent history, so maybe that was a smart move on their part after all. But hot on the heels of that news, comes word that Sam Zell has been elected to the AP board of directors.

Not everyone at AP is so sanguine however. Boyarsky found this quote from Sue Cross, senior vice president of global new media at the Associated Press:

"You can go read about news issues in more sources than ever before… but what are being lost are some crucial things. One is in investigative and watchdog journalism. …The second area that I think is being lost is consistent day-in, day-out institutional coverage. City government. County government. State government; You are seeing beats combined as newsroom resources are cut down. You also are seeing people are going in with less expertise. Seasoned beat reporters are, in many cases, leaving the industry.”

Something tells me Cross won't get an invite to join the board any time soon.

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