Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Good Point – From Mark Cuban, No Less

From The New York Times, June 17, 2006:

“In a recent post on his blog, Mark Cuban laments what he calls the loss of creativity, humor and spine in mainstream journalism. Young people aren't turning away from mainstream media because they don't care about current events, he writes, but because the media don't know how to connect with them. He adds that young people find traditional media boring with no ‘payoff’ like that offered by the pugnacious Mike Wallace or the ribald Howard Stern. ‘Even for a 21-year-old, it's not just about Paris Hilton, Bradgelina and the latest rap feud,’ he writes. ‘Kids want to learn. They want to know. Journalism matters.’”

This rings true, based on a significant number of students I deal with – they may not think of “journalism” in the same ways that all the Old School Traditionalists (I’m a card-carrying member) might, but they are interested in reporting, writing, commenting, interpreting on “the now,” and they do not feel bound to consider only conventional ways to do it – that is, newspapers and serious magazines.

On the other had, Cuban’s point implies a dilemma: exactly what sorts of “payoffs” are we willing to encourage, or tolerate, from journalists, young and old(er)? (For now, we will not even attempt to address the hot-button issue of trying to define just what a journalist is, given bloggers, citizen journalists . . .)

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