McChesney and Reynolds on the Future of Journalism

This week, the L.A. Times is running a surprisingly thoughtful, five-part series on the future of journalism. It’s framed as a debate between Robert McChesney (one of the seminal thinkers in the media reform movement, founder of Free Press, author of many books, including the excellent, The Problem of the Media, and host of the radio show and podcast, Media Matters) and Glenn Reynolds (founder of the site Instapundit, and author of several books including “An Army of Davids,” released this year).

Both contributors believe that our sources of news are not serving us well, but McChesney focuses more on policy issues while Reynolds tends to be a free-marketer. The series makes for some very interesting reading and has implications for media as a whole, not just news.

A couple of quotes:

McChesney: “The crisis we face is that our smartest capitalists, not just the dumb ones, have determined it is not good business to do what our society needs in the way of journalism. The commercial news system has failed, and so far there is little indication that it is going to be resurrected in the digital world.”

Reynolds: “…traditional media organizations are still in a much better position overall to cover actual news than citizen journalists. They’ve got the infrastructure, the training, and the experience. But those advantages are eroding daily as technology shifts in favor of smaller operations, and as citizen journalists gain experience and audience.”

The series is available on the L.A. Times site. Part 1 is here. Links to the other segments are at the bottom of the page. The articles are also available at Free Press, linked from this page.

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