On the heels of a New York Times article stressing the imperative of newspapers and the rest of the media to change or perish comes a good shout-out by Eugene Weekly in its weekly Slant column. It began by noting the recent SPJ conference, "Building a Better Journalist," and continued:
"Excellent presenters from around the Northwest focused on how news organizations can reinvent themselves. Lots of talk about Web sites, blogs, YouTube, Twitter and new 'economic models' for success, but little discussion about how journalism itself is to blame for the financial woes of traditional media. Give the public lively, compelling, relevant content and they will stick with you. Give people superficial, predictable stories and recycled press releases and they will flock to something more stimulating, such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher , or conservative talk radio. National content in print form is yesterday’s news, so political junkies turn to interactive political Web sites."As I shared this take with students in my Media & Society class at LBCC nods of agreement spread around the room. After all, they don't read newspapers, but they are media consumers and big on the Internet.
Eugene Weekly concluded: "Newspapers need to rise to the challenge with better content, rather than dumb down and pander to their shrinking advertiser base."
For more on this topic, see my blog, "Journalism: A Return to Its Partisan Roots?" from earlier this week.
p.s. Fans of U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and his no-nonsense approach in Congress will find much to like in his Q&A with Eugene Weekly.
(Photo credit: "Reading Over His Shoulder" by Point-Shoot-Edit, courtesy of Frickr.com)