Thursday, February 11, 2010

Citizen's Lament

There is much to lament in the increasingly dire economic straits of the mainstream media (especially the daily newspaper), but perhaps the most pernicious consequence (aside from the appalling loss of jobs) is the coincident erosion of studied, thoughtful news analysis.

How many newspapers nowadays can afford the time, reportorial/editorial staff, and space necessary to responsibly discharge a function so vital to the role a press must play in a democracy? Dishearteningly, the answer must be: very few -- and we are all the poorer for it.

Magazines remain one of the few purveyors of the sort of analysis to which I refer, but, regrettably, only 2% of the population reads magazines any more, and they're relatively expensive for the average wage-earner.

I, for one, find myself increasingly turning to free internet sources having pockets deep enough to support and publish such analysis. Case in point, STRATFOR, a private-enterprise global intelligence organization which supplies strategic guidance in the form of well-written articles to its subscribers and clients. All to the good, but who's there -- or interested enough -- to refute any faulty conclusions at which they may arrive? Few bloggers -- no matter how reliable -- have the resources to do so, and certainly none of the MSM.

STRATFOR is accountable only to its shareholders and subscribers; not to the community at large. This is not to suggest that, as a consequence, they lack reliability or circumspection, only that they have no public responsibility, as does the press.

The only answer to this increasingly distressing scenario is for the MSM to accelerate (if sheer survival is not already a sufficient goad) its so-far elusive quest to reinvent its economic model in order to bring it profitably in line with the realities of the contemporary, digitally-dominated, marketplace. It cannot happen too soon.


For an example of a STRATFOR article, link to:

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