February 25, 2003

It’s what you do with it…

Janet Kolodzy says competition in the news business, thought to lead to more diverse coverage and points of view, is overrated. She says: “The issue is not who owns the media; it is what they do with it.”

I agree with this to an extent. I don’t think the issue of media ownership and competition, however, is as simple as Kolodzy portrays it (from her TV “journalist” perspective). I don’t think we can understand the issue outside the complex social-political-cultural web in which the news organizations exist and reporters/editors operate.

Some of Kolodzy’s condemnations are right on, but many of them, I would argue, have only a tangential relationship to issues of competition or ownership. Some of these problems are structural in nature and speak more to what journalism is as practiced in America than to what the media are because of who/what owns them.

UPDATE (3:45 p.m.): I see that I’ve thrown quote marks around “journalist” again in reference to those who practice it on TV. Hmmmm…I am conflicted about TV as a medium for journalism. Putting quotes around the word, however, does more to insult the journalist that to convey what it is I’m really trying to say. Tomorrow, in my first post, I intend to deal with what I think TV can do well in journalism.

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