I am a great admirer of the political purpose and effort contained within the work of Robert Rodriguez and Patrisia Gonzales, authors of the Column of the Americas. While I may disagree with their interpretations and analysis at times, and while we come at knowledge from differing frameworks and so, often, might disagree on “fact” and “history,” they are true crusaders in the fight for knowledge and understanding. In more than a few ways, they were blogging before there were blogs, heck, even before there was a “real” internet!
That said, Rodriguez’ wrote a guest opinion piece in this month’s Arizona Daily Star on the decline (or not) of journalism. It’s a topic very near and dear to my heart, as it is to many academics. I have only this to offer:
The death of professional journalism in this country is coming with the death of the newspaper as a medium. Yes, that is only a change in medium, but this change is complicated by the fact that the other media (TV, and to some extent radio) had largely moved to a model of journalism which fed off of print media. They had become parasites, if you will, reflected in the movement to hire people who majored in “Communications” and who looked good on TV more than people who studied journalism.
This death is real, and it is troubling. Something will replace it, sure, but when a parasite is this huge, it is bound to feed off of whatever it can to stay alive, whether or not that something if the best thing for it. The new big boy on the block is not dedicated to real journalism, it’s dedicated to bullshit and rumor.
This is a moment of redefinition and realignment. What that means we do not yet know.