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The Sciences

Throwing Journalists Overboard

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorMarch 27, 2009 1:22 AM

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Jeff Jarvis is arguably the most influential media blogger. I've been reading BuzzMachine habitually for years because Jarvis is in the vanguard of a revolution--one that will ultimately reinvent journalism for the digital age. His blog is a must-read for many in the industry. But like some of his critics, I blanch at his all or nothing approach to saving journalism. Yes, it comes off as heartless, but it's also reckless, in light of the increasingly rapid shuttering of major newspapers. Jarvis makes no bones about this. The sooner the old media ship sinks, the quicker the reinvention, Jarvis often claims. Perhaps. But what about between now and then? There are no existing economic models to keep journalism afloat while innovators like Jarvis help build a new ship for the ages. So I have to wonder how much he truly values the civic importance of journalism when he cavalierly dismisses proposed interim solutions like this. Now I'm not suggesting that the government bail out the newspaper business. But can't we at least take seriously efforts to keep some journalists (and some papers) afloat while the old order is deservedly being overthrown.

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