As we know, journalism is suffering a double crisis: both economic and systematic. But it seems that there is a solution for the second one. Or this is, at least, what Debra Reddin thinks. This professor at Augusta University believes that nineteenth century journalism would be useful for today’s journalism.
For her, the journalistic model that we are used to needs to change. She has concluded that the media has to be basically subjective and that newspapers will be produced by few people than nowadays.
There are some of her statements which I agree. First, that journalism needs to be a bridge that connects political power and society, which is, at the same time, an elementary clue to become believable. What is the same: it is necessary for journalism to be again a power that politicians ‘fear’.
Reddin states that the mass media is characterised by homogeneity. Thus, the solution to this crisis could be to specialise. However, I do not think that, as she says, the solution is basically to offer the vision of reality that society demands. In other words, to mainly show opinion and to adapt the information to the ideology that you think your public has. Of course newspapers, radios and televisions should add the audience’s opinion, but this is not the same as showing only the reality that your audience wants to read, hear or watch. What the mass media should do is to show reality in an objective way so that, afterwards, society can create their own opinion.
To believe that citizen journalism is the superb solution to the mass media is another aspect explained by Reddin which I do not agree. It has been clearly proven that several journals created by citizens have failed because there was not a professional who controlled the situation.
Still, Reddin thinks that analytic and local journalism is one step forward to quality newspapers. In this sense, I do think that specialisation could help the mass media to gain quality and attract society.
Thus, it is possible that the characteristics which nineteenth Century newspapers had might save us: opinion, specialisation and localisation. Still, we should find a balance between what we have now (objectivity, professionals) and the alternatives that Reddin presents.
Trainee student at Signe Words