The Journal Star published this editorial on December 15.
If the Journal cannot send reporters to Darfur, that is understandable. But they shouldn't hide news happening several miles from their front door.
Posted Dec 15, 2008 @ 10:30 PM
PEORIA — Between Barack Obama running his pre-presidency out of the Windy City and bringing all sorts of global movers and shakers into town, and Rod Blagojevich - no further explanation necessary - Chicago is the media hub of the universe these days.
In a news city, arguably there's never been so much news.
Ironic, then, that at the same time so much is happening and people seem to have such a thirst to know more about it, the city's flagship newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Oh, well, at least the Trib isn't begging for a bailout.
It's a sign of the times, of course. News organizations across the spectrum of print and broadcast are struggling like never before, for a variety of reasons: the dismal economy, certainly; the overwhelming number of choices for fickle and unforgiving consumers, which makes it more difficult to draw sustainable market share; the competition from the Internet; the strain on customers' time; sometimes ownership's lack of appreciation for the unique demands of this business; the cultural changes in reading and spending habits and a sense that all information is equal and ought to be free.
To be sure, newspapers and other media aren't perfect any more than any human endeavor is, and some of their injuries are self-inflicted. But it still takes people and resources to go out and gather the news, organize it so it makes sense and distribute it, no matter the vehicle of delivery. It doesn't just happen spontaneously, effortlessly, without cost. Covering the Peoria City Council or the District 150 School Board or the Illinois Legislature - at least adequately - is not really something you can outsource to Bangalore, India, or do part-time, though some will no doubt try.
The risk of these unprecedented challenges to the industry is that the kind of investigative journalism that for decades has been uncovering the hard to get - the less-than-ethical exploits of an Illinois governor, or the abuses of an Enron, or the crimes of a Nixon administration, or the genocide of a helpless and innocent population far away - will just go away because it doesn't contribute enough to the bottom line, because the payoff isn't guaranteed up-front, because the potential return doesn't justify the commitment of time.
What this means for Americans is that we don't know what we don't know. Governments and institutions that in many cases would prefer to never have the light shine on their affairs will do things to us, and not always in our best interests. The decisions most make will be less informed. And that's dangerous in a democracy.
rjd 2 days ago
The biggest problem with 'news' today is that a lot of it is actually editorial in nature. It's alot of political spin. Case in point, the JS's recent AK47 article. Nothing but a spin. Completely unfactual. A misleading article, to say the very least. People are not going to pay good money for a 'spin' rag. Most of the news media no longer reports the news. Why have a NEWSpaper then?
RealWorld 22 hours ago
I agree RJD. I would care if the newspapers went out of business if they already were not in the pocket of politicians and local money men.
I was personally glad to see the Chicago Trib go under. Really glad. Wouldn't it be funny if a newspaper started that actually gave people the real news, not just the stories that the editors say they can print. Since the reporters are such Private I's, why didn't the tribune know about Blago? Why didn't they report it?
haitianhearts 37 minutes ago
"What this means for Americans is that we don't know what we don't know. Governments and institutions that in many cases would prefer to never have the light shine on their affairs will do things to us, and not always in our best interests. The decisions most make will be less informed. And that's dangerous in a democracy."
Like most newspapers, the Journal Star does hide what they want to hide.
For more than a decade the Journal Star has been against the Peoria Fire Department (PFD) upgrading its services to provide better care for people who call 911 in medical emergencies. Peorias three hospitals did not want the upgrade and the three hospitals advertise a lot in the Journal. This summer when the PFD was finally allowed to upgrade their services for Peorians, the Journal printed not a word of this.
And when OSF stopped Haitian kids from returning with the Haitian Hearts program to OSF for repeat heart surgery, Haitian kids have died. And when surgeries were delayed for Haitian kids in Peoria, Haitian kids in Peoria have suffered. But the Journal did not report these local crimes. The Journal Star reporters knew about these events but were stopped from reporting.
Yes, Journal Star Editors, local institutions will do things to us that our not in our best interest. And for you to hide the light on their affairs only makes sure 'we don't know what we don't know'.
John A. Carroll, M.D.