Sunday, March 9, 2008

What YouTube Can't Replace

One of the issues facing our democracy is the use of New Media. The founders believed a free press was an invisible check and balance on the power of democratic government. It was that belief that enshrined protection of the press into our constitution. Many have lamented the consolidation of our media outlets and the closing of newspapers. Still others have written that the rise of the internet and the power of independent media with a low cost of entry into the marketplace of ideas will eventually tilt the balance of power back to the citizenry.

While, I am enthusiastic member of that independent media, I have news for the blogosphere and the Youtubers. All of our efforts, while important to the national discourse on ideas and debates, do not replace well-funded, unencumbered independent journalists, and journalistic outlets. As good a blogger or youtuber as someone might be, odds are they have a nine-to-five and can't dedicate the time or energy necessary to digging layers and layers deep into a story.

I submit as evidence the recent Walter Reed Scandal, uncovered by the Washington Post. Too often the media are simply mouth pieces for public figures with press kits, but this time around Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull dug deep and found a story on the profound lack of care our soldiers were receiving. The story quickly broke nationally and opened up an entirely new debate on the kind of care our soldiers should be entitled too.

Professional journalists trained in objectivity and ethics are an increasing rarity in our media. And for all of the added heat of the web, the 24-hour news cycle, the blogosphere, and YouTube, there isn't much light being shed on the issues of the day.

1 comment:

Marc Valentine said...

Really great post James. I couldn't agree with you more.