Voyeurism: Journalism’s 21st Century Crisis

Here is the latest in my ongoing series of essays, TV News in a Postmodern World.

Me at the National Press ClubThis picture was taken last week during a visit to the National Press Club in Washington. I was there to meet some great people and make a presentation, but I got the chance to walk around, look at all the marvelous photographs and try and absorb the history of the place.

The Press Club represents the essence of all that professional journalists hold dear. Bathed in the lives and deaths of those who went before, it is a lasting testimony to an institution that finds itself facing significant internal and external pressures today.

On the way home, I began writing this essay, Voyeurism: Journalism’s 21st Century Crisis. As always, I make no claim to special insight or knowledge. This vision is simply my thoughts about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we might be headed. The way I look at it, it’s all there for anybody to see, but the price of a pair of glasses is a willingness to be honest with ourselves.

The people I was with in Washington agreed with me that this is perhaps the most exciting era in the history of communications, but that traditional media companies must “drive their car and fix it at the same time.” That is a significant challenge, and a how-to manual would certainly help. Unfortunately, we’ve got to make a lot of it up as we go along, and our ties to our assumptions, traditions and history might just be a net liability.

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