Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Are scoops the entirety of journalism?

Stephen Silver seems to think so: "In the end, I don’t see the Inquirer‘s Banner scoop as a reason to see salvation in newspapers, but rather, I view the very rarity of such an event as an indication of the medium’s doom."

Only if "the medium" is composed entirely of scoops. Of course print can't compete on that basis—and, of course, it keeps trying to compete on that basis. Look at today's front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer at right: All but two stories are recaps of events that happened yesterday—events that anybody with a decent RSS or Twitter feed already knew about.

Print is going to be diminished. It will be a very long time before it goes away, I think. To the extent that it can thrive in a downsized state, it will do so because it offers depth, analysis, and thoughtfulness. It can't be about the business of scoops—and the longer we keep measuring its impact by scoops, as Silver does, the harder and faster the fall will be.

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