Monday, March 16, 2009

Sorry Your Career Might Not Be As Awesome


You often hear journalists complain about DC Bureaus closing and high profile jobs being lost. But that's not the problem.

This is the reason I'm so often pretty unsympathetic about the way many journalists whine about their declining industry. I don't actually care if the Philadelphia Inquirer has somebody covering Washington (though they should have somebody covering local races for federal office, etc.). I have no idea why 3 million journalists showed up in Denver for the Democratic convention. I don't know why there are so many journalists stationed at the White House all day every day waiting to pester Gibbs.

This stuff might be sexier and feel more important than covering local zoning board meetings, but it doesn't actual require the amount of resources that are devoted to it.

I actually disagree with Ezra (click the link) that what we're losing is news that people don't want. I think local newspapers have generally been pretty bad at doing the thing they don't have all that much competition for, which is providing good coverage of local news. Frankly, much maligned local television news often does a better job, not because they're so awesome but because they're focused on it.

It will be bad if there's no business model for quality local journalism, though I think for years part of the problem is that there hasn't been enough...quality local journalism. Perhaps someone should try it.