Last Friday, I had the pleasure of spending an evening at Ryerson University in Toronto with new media theorist Clay Shirky debating the future of news. After our public discussion, somebody in the audience asked why American newspapers are in so much worse a state that those in Europe or Latin America.
The explanation is cultural. In contrast with the rest of the world, there is an illusion in the United States – both amongst newspaper readers and publishers – about the seductive ideal of objective news. In America, serious newspapers are held up to be public paragons of objectivity existing above the fray of human affairs, unbiasedly funneling paragraphs of absolute truth to their readers. This accounts, of course, for the pinching seriousness of papers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. And it also explains why these newspapers are constantly targeted by the braying mob for their supposed liberal and conservative bias.
This also explains the appalling seriousness of the American newspaper editor..... MORE