National Papers as ‘Paparazzi-Like Birdcage Liner’

David Sirota has a new column (Creators Syndicate, 3/27/09) chronicling the nature of “newspapers’ self-inflicted blows”: First, financially strapped newspapers undermined their comparative advantage by replacing audience-attracting local exclusives with cheaper national content. Then the providers of that national content diverted resources from tough-to-report investigative journalism that builds loyal readership and into paparazzi-like birdcage liner that unconvincingly portrays politicians, CEOs and their minions as celebrities. Former journalist David Simon, “whose HBO series The Wire examined this trend,” gives Sirota the awful truth: “In place of comprehensive, complex and idiosyncratic coverage, readers of even the most serious newspapers were offered celebrity […]