Friday, 17 July 2009

More News Needed, Even in Summer: Where Are the New I.F. Stones?

All right, it is summer, but it’s also time to say loudly that covering funerals, no matter how sad, and anniversaries, no matter what the event, is lazy journalism.

We have been treated over the last few weeks with an orgy of necrology: a former governor general, a former pop star, a child snatched away, too many young soldiers. Each is sad, I agree, but to suggest that word pictures and video clips of rock musicians, weeping mothers, and/or pipers (take your pick) are the equivalent of investigative journalism or serious comment is ludicrous.

Ditto for the 40 years since the Walk on the Moon (and has anybody noticed its coincidence with the Moon Walker’s demise?) It was pretty exciting, I admit, but is there nothing more probing to say than that? The Space Race was a child of the Cold War: surely some reflection on what the military-industrial complex has done since would make good copy.

Taking the easy way out has always been tempting, but it seems there’s far more of it. Budgets in newsgathering organizations are slim because of economic bad times and the competition from all those citizen journalists. Who’s going to do the probing necessary to tell the stories we need to hear, even if it’s summer?

If there are any I.F. Stone’s out there, please stand up.


Jack Ruttan said...

I think about 50% of the editorial cartoonists still working noted the "moonwalk" trope.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Jack, you are much more up on cartoonists that I. I stand corrected.

Whatever happened to moon boots, though?