The pen (or keystroke) is mightier than the sword.
The oft used quote has a hollow ring right now. The sword is cutting deep blows at two Utah news outlets. At least several dozen employees were laid off at KTVX ABC4, and this summer, possibly more than 30 may be asked to exit their careers at the Deseret News. Trust me, much more will come.
Content is still king. Talk all you want about new media, but someone has to write the content, and someone has to like the content so that advertisers will spend money to cozy up to the content. Yes, I know there's plenty of content online. Does it serve the community and world? Or does it serve the ego of the writer?
I recently read that a TV station in California laid off many of its newsroom staff and asked the community to "cover the news." Would a car maker fire all the mechanics and expect the car buyer to assemble the vehicle at home?
Some Americans would say the traditional news media - amidst its fleeing advertisers and audience - is getting a "comeuppance" for past bad behavior. Trust me, no matter how powerful and protected you think you are, there will come a time in your life when you find yourself in a vulnerable situation, desperate for a fair-minded underpaid journalist to tell your side of a very ugly, life-changing story.
Granted, the Internet has given some very talented people their 15 minutes of fame. They may write well, and have enormous talent with video and audio. But do they have a compass? Can they be bought with a freebie, a pat on the back or the neighbors' praise?
If America's great experiment in democracy is to survive, a free press (broadcast, etc), one that doggedly tracks the actions of government and the powerful, is the only protection we have from those who could evenutally undermine freedom as we have known it.
I'm a big fan of new media, but not at the expense of those who selflessly practice the true ethics of journalism.
My fervent wish is this: That traditional media quickly finds a new business model online, AND most importantly, a new revenue stream to preserve and protect those who create content..which is still king.