Ethically questionable navel-gazing
Posted: 08/23/2011 02:00:24 AM PDT
At a time when tabloid approaches to journalism are actively scrutinized by the public, the Times-Standard made an interesting choice on August 16th in devoting almost 50 percent of its entire first section to the Pedreros tragedy. In doing so, the T-S crossed a line, and journalistic integrity (a phrase destined for the pantheon of oxymorons) bowed to the judgment that short-term profit is sufficient justification for pathos-peddling. In the absence of any new information within Tuesday's story, it's hard to imagine any other motive for running it at such length and so prominently.
The newspaper industry occupies a unique place at the intersection between the free market and the public good. Such a privileged position dictates that discretion and self-restraint may be the better part of turning a profit. This reader, for one, is now disinclined to renew her subscription. The act of recycling human tragedy, of repeatedly strewing it about in print on the pretense that some public good might be salvaged from picking it over may appeal to some readers but is likely to put off an equal (perhaps even greater) number.
With mounting crises locally, nationally, and abroad, finding newsworthy stories that don't create the impression of exploitation seems hardly daunting. Many of the challenges facing the North Coast stem from its isolation and insularity, neither of which is alleviated by this kind of ethically questionable navel-gazing from its major source of print news.
An interesting coincidence. Nevertheless, this report has observed in the past a propensity for this paper to print useless, non-relevant opinions and other, what I call, urbane nonsense. All that tends to limit the local news items and issues or at least relegate it to a certain slant or bias. [Source]