Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Forty-Five.

I love the beginning of the New York Post article on their snooty cousins the New York Times:

The New York Times is scrambling to quell a staff rebellion at its metro desk after the section’s editor, Cliff Levy, unleashed a blistering e-mail to staffers last week, saying the section had “lost its footing” and was in need of “urgent” change.

The News Guild of New York, which represents the 40-plus journalists in the section, called Levy’s memo a “public fragging” by Times management and said his offer of “voluntary” buyouts as the section became more Web-focused was “an unexpected threat to our journalism and our jobs.”

The New York Times has needed a reality check for a very long time. The old guard is being pushed out for cheaper and younger models who do not cost as much to product dreck, but the stubborn ways of the profession always mystified me as the dead of the profession was more than just entirely avoidable: it was easy to correct in the first place.

But the Times already admits defeat. Print will be replaced by digital? I doubt digital will last as long as Big Tech pretends it will — so what happens to journalism?

It’s dead: you have pseudo-journalism right now. Partisan dreck in disguise as journalism with fewer people using the product because it is too gossipy to be of use.

But we are seeing more than just print publications die. Even those with an online presence, such as the Stratford Star are bidding adieu:

After more than 24 years of publication, Stratford Star will cease operations, effective this week. “Due to economic forces buffeting our industry we are rescaling our business again . The recent volatility of the newsprint market made our options clear,” said Martin V. Hersam, Publisher and CEO of HAN Network, owners of the Star and 11 other weekly papers and websites. “The best efforts of our incredible staff and years of strategic planning, retooling and restructuring we could not overcome the economic realities of tepid advertising and subscriber interest in this market. We just could not sustain a publishing business here any longer,” Hersam continued. The company will continue to publish its other weekly newspapers — the Darien Times, New Canaan Advertiser, Wilton Bulletin, Ridgefield Press, Milford Mirror, Trumbull Times and Shelton Herald. However, four other sister publications — The Easton Courier, Weston Forum, Redding Pilot, and Monroe Courier — are being closed as well. “Stratford, like the other markets we are exiting, is a wonderful town with remarkable residents and we enjoyed being their print and digital local news source. Newspapering is a business we truly love and it saddens us to leave after such a long run. Unfortunately we could not operate at a financial loss here any longer,” Hersam continued. 

In a booming economy, that is quite the declaration to make. They are not the only ones.

We need information the way we need sleep, shelter, and food, so why has journalism falter?

No much junk.

Not enough substance.

The alternative must be one that nourishes the mind and the heart. Facts will do both. How do people find their way?

With truth that comes from kindness, not manipulation.

It had been an easy hack for journalists and politicians to appeal to a certain segment of the middle class: but the entire planet isn’t the sheltered stay-at-mall types — male and female — who just want to brag and pretend they have reached the Promised Land.

There are people struggling with illness, poverty, discrimination, and are willing to admit this.

The alternative can never pander to those who cannot admit they are in the wrong or those who think they are perfect in their beliefs.

The newsroom uprising at the Times comes from those who lack courage to see that yes, they need to change to get themselves out of the quicksand.

The appeal to realists seems counter-intuitive, yet there are plenty of people who know they do not like where they are, and want to know why it is wrong.

If they know the problems — all of them — they can devise their escape from it.

That is all journalism ever needed to be: but its alternative can kindly and bravely pick up the slack...