Newspaper Journalism a Lost Cause?

The dismal state of corporate newspaper journalism has Philadelphia Inquirer columnist George Curry reconsidering (12/11/08) the value of his lifelong dedication to improving the trade:

I have spent most of my career urging young people to consider careers in journalism. I was founding director of workshops affiliated with the National Association of Black Journalists chapters in St. Louis, Washington and New York, which encouraged minority high school students to enter the profession. As a past chairman of Youth Communication, a news service for teen papers across the country, and as a board member of Young D.C., a regional teen paper, I have worked with hundreds of young people over the years, many of whom entered the field.

This has always been a source of great pride for me. But now, for the first time, I am wondering if I did the right thing. That’s not because I have any less love for my profession, but because the news business is changing–for the worse. Many big-city newspapers are putting less emphasis on social issues and providing less coverage of the poor than when I first entered the business in 1970.

Having chosen his profession “not only because I could write, but also because I thought newspapers did a poor job of covering the poor, and I wanted to help change that,” Curry now thinks that, “though there has been some improvement, it looks as if much of that progress is about to be eroded.”

Read the FAIR magazine Extra!: “A Poverty of Coverage: Why Aren’t the Poor on the Media Agenda?” (9-10/07) by Steve Rendall