would make a fine New Year's resolution, and Professor Philip Meyer in
Chapel Hill has a few suggestions, based on years of research and
experience. That link leads to his latest article on the subject in the
Columbia Journalism Review. (Thanks to NYU's Jay Rosen for pointing out the article, along with his own perspective on the news media's past year -- and future.)
"The only way to save journalism,"
Meyer says, "is to develop a new model that finds profit in truth,
vigilance, and social responsibility."
While that business model comes into focus, he suggests that
journalists look into policing the quality of their own work, and that
they look at non-profit journalism, such as the work of NPR and the Center for Public Integrity, as models superior to the current media circus, which Meyer describes like this:
"Our once noble calling is increasingly difficult to distinguish from
things that look like journalism but are primarily advertising, press
agentry, or entertainment. The pure news audience is drifting away as
old readers die and are replaced by young people hooked on popular
culture and amusement."
"If we are to preserve journalism and its social-service functions,
maybe we would be wise not to focus too much on traditional media... We should look for ways to keep the
spirit and tradition of socially responsible journalism alive until it
finds a home in some new media form whose nature we can only guess at
That's all I'll quote -- go read the whole article. Better yet, read his new book: The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age. It might pair up nicely with David T. Z. Mindich's Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News. (If that title intrigues you, see this interview with him.)