JOURNALISM IS CRIPPLED BY
BOTH ECONOMICS & IDEOLOGY
I recently reread one of my posts from back in March of 2014, and it struck me as relevant to the news coverage we’ve been getting over the past few months — most especially in the last week as we’ve watched our media mavens discredit themselves once again. Here’s a somewhat edited version of my original post. See if you agree with its observations …
It should come as no surprise that the class I remember most fondly from my days as a Journalism major at Temple University would be Editorial Writing. But then, as I have confessed…
“I’ve always been opinionated and long-winded. Which pretty much proves I was born to blog.”
My least favorite class was Editing. It was taught by an old guy who had been a slot man for many years on a local paper, and who insisted we learn the names of every county seat in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Explanation: A slot man was the guy who sat in the center — or slot — of the horseshoe-shaped copy desk, directing the flow of stories to the editors seated around him.)
Spelling counted in Editing class. In fact, the course was all about accuracy and detail — which felt extremely tedious and restrictive to us students, raised as we were on equal portions of Edward R. Murrow and Clark Kent. Our idea of journalism was digging for dirt, uncovering corruption, defeating bad guys, bringing truth to the people.
He used to tell us that former students who’d gone into the profession would come back years later to say how valuable his course had been to them. Which is the kind of thing guaranteed to set college kids’ eyes rolling. At least it set our eyes rolling, inclined as we were to late-1960s questioning of authority, and alert to the slightest whiff of adult pride.