Is professional journalism still relevant?

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Is professional journalism still relevant?

Albeit not in so many words, I believe this is a question with which we've been struggling here on The Saline Post for a month or so now. And if the discussion goes anywhere with this Forum entry, it will probably start out with responses by the regular contributors who may well consider themselves among the ranks of professional journalists on this very site.

My thinking on this question was triggered before the October 28 article here titled, "Here's Why We Value Your Comments."

En route to preparing a presentation on the impact of the Internet on purchasing decisions, I came across a 2011 Forbes piece called, "The Business World Needs Fewer Journalists and More Opinions and Investigative Reporting." The writer started off by saying that he's "not a journalist" and "didn't go to J-School." Neither did I. Not sure if that helps or hurts me here.

He goes on to criticize reporters who put a high value on "breaking" news and "scoops." By this I think he means a sort of stenographers' approach, à la Joe Friday: Just the facts ma'am, and nothing more. "Getting it posted first and moving on," trumps digging deeper, providing perspective, and delivering long-form analysis. He goes on to say that such an approach dies of its own weight, because, thanks to the Internet, "scoops" are rendered "meaningless 48 hours after they 'break.'"

I've made no secret of my thought that stakeholders are ill-served (if not worse) by wasting their important commenting in response to The Saline Post by leaving those thoughts over on Facebook. We've seen a little change in that since the October 28 article presented the case for being here, possibly coupled with my own entreats to Salinians on Facebook itself.

Regardless of why we're seeing more Comments here, I have to confess that I often like a lot of them better than the articles to which they respond. Does that put jobs at risk?

In any case, that's the Genesis and preamble to my question posed above on The Saline Post Forum.

What do you think?

I sure hope so.

I sure hope so.

I think journalism is as important as ever, or I'd have quit.   

We might have to reinvent aspects of the profession.     

You may not might not like the "stenographer" aspect of reporting, but it has great value. How else are you to know what was discussed about the issue at a city council meeting? Are you going to wait for the meeting to come on SCTN if you sub to Comcast? Are you going to find the video when it's finally uploaded and try to find that discussion?

Sometimes, I see the metrics on a city council article and wonder if it's worth the time and effort. But then when I see someone on the street and they start talking to me about what was said, I remember why I do it.

I sometimes like comments. Sometimes the comments provide a perspective that I didn't get to in a story. On the other hand I sometimes see comments as ill-informed, negative, rude and destructive.

But, back in the days of newspapers, the Letters to the Editor section was one of my go-to pages. So I'm glad to provide a platform for the modern-day version.

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