The article in The Media Online (you know a publication is worthless when it uses “Authoritative. Trusted. Credible. as its motto because it is not self-evident by their actual actions) isn’t new, but someone posted this in What’s Your Plan B on Facebook, and it is one of the most obtuse articles on journalism I have seen, and I have seem some wretched doozies.
The thesis of this piece is that “low pay” is killing journalism.
No, journalists were always low paid.
A few television journalists in the United States make millions, but most journalists have to supplement their income by teaching, working in public relations, or some other venue, such as public speaking or trying to get a book deal.
In Canada, a few of these journalists were caught in serious credibility-damaging conflict of interest side gigs.
But this bad pay has been part of being a journalist for decades.
Freelancers make worse pay than those on staff.
And I won’t even go into the exploitative world of unpaid internships.
And many people work for free: they write or work in radio and television without payment.
Journalists aren’t rich. Do not kid yourself. The pay is atrocious.
So let’s not say there is a correlation between pay and the profession itself.
It will not explain why journalism collapsed.
The problems are far more complicated than that. It took me an entire book to outline it (though I had outlined other aspects of it in this book and this one), and it’s far more complex than what I place on this website.
But journalists weren’t taking their profession seriously. They ignored their own shortcomings and went about their profession groping in the dark.
As my mother would quip, “What is that? An elephant? A penis? An elephant’s penis?” before lamenting how journalists never seemed to know what the real story was about.
Journalists never learned how to dig for information in a meaningful way. They either defer to experts or authority figures…or just crib stuff off a press release. Unless someone tells them there is trouble or bad things happening, they don’t know to find it for themselves. Hanging around city hall or the courts is not the same as being active in looking for facts.
They are not enterprising. The late Pharma tyrant Barry Sherman used to hire private investigators to go through the garbage of rivals…so why didn’t journalists go through his trash?
Because then they couldn’t dream of getting an invite to one of his little worthless parties.
That’s why journalism died. They were never willing to be soldiers, just arrogant snowflakes. The few who did get it, such as Chauncey Bailey, Dickey Chapelle, and Daniel Pearl, had no protection, and ended up dead because the profession was never made to consider that journalists would be in danger.
Because they never actually took their job seriously. If journalism was real, the system would take the danger into their equations.
And that should be the first sign that journalism was never quite what it pretended it was.