Every morning for the last year, I feel like I've read the same story: revenue's down, journalists laid off. Then comes the companion piece: News organizations aren't going to be their to hold government accountable and keep an eye on the public square. At least not as well.
Some of their pieces appear to, in fact, have real news value. Tom Friedman's column yesterday on secretary of state gig offered a look at what a good secretary/presidential relationship looks like and why the Hillary pick would be challenging. The story floating around today asking how appointing Washington insiders would bring the "Change" to Washington that Obama has promised for two years, I find extremely insightful. And, hey, now I know to keep any eye out for Secretary Gates when shopping at the outlet malls up north.
But, more often than not, these pieces dissecting the president elect's short lists leave me feeling the same way I did during the run-up to the Palin/Biden picks: Does all this speculation and tough questioning of potential candidates on Sunday-morning talk shows make me smarter? I don't think so.
So, why is it that we're being fed so much non-news alongside a heavy serving of old-media Armageddon? It's not as if there's not plenty of real news to discuss. We're still fighting two wars, aren't we? There's still a little matter of the economy, isn't there? We still don't have a basketball team in Seattle, do we? So, why are so many of the precious-few remaining resources being spent covering hearsay and horse races?
Perhaps it is because in the "All the News That's Fit to Click" world of pageviews=revenue=more of it, gossip and speculation reigns king.
But, I don't have to visit journalism's big three to get that.