Charles Madigan on news gathering, etc.

Chi Trib’s Charles Madigan says let’s hear it for “old media,” which gives us thought-based information.

In the glory days [pre-electronic], reporters could whittle away for five, six, seven hours at an event, parse it out, look for the contradictions and try to present an accurate, compelling account that would be published the next day.

The electronic world has now seized the turf of news immediacy.

Now it’s "breaking news" that carries the day.  But what you see and hear “may not be very well developed.”  Watching and listening,

you might well lose the crucial context or be left with a set of "facts" that are, ultimately, not facts at all, but changeable parts of an ongoing story.

“[T]raditional newspaper family values,” on the other hand, give or try to give the whole story.  But this is an old story.  Long before blogs was radio (which Madigan mentions), where it was “rip ‘n read” for the latest. 

Nor did newspaper people like radio reporters, as the late Len O’Connor recounted in A Reporter in Sweet Chicago (Contemporary, 1983).  He represented something new and threatening, which sounds familiar in today’s context.

1 comment:

Jim Bowman said...

Nancy Thorner writes: I could hardly contain my laughter when I read Mr. Madigan's commentary today. No one working in the newspaper business cares to face the reason why many people don't read newspapers any more. I find that I know all the news that is reported in the Chicago Tribune the night before. It matters not how long a reporter takes to create a story, but how that story is fashioned out of the given facts. The news is often so slanted, that I don't want to read it most of the time. The latter reason is why many perceptive people turn away from newspapers all together. Granted, there are some exceptions in any given newspaper. Dennis Byrne's column of today, "To all you naysayers," is a good example of why I still enjoy reading newspapers. Good and throughtful writers like Mr. Byrne give me reason to keep the Trib coming and to keep buying other newspapers.