NYT Building Designed by Renzo Piano
“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57
New Old Journalism
It is no accident the brand spankin’ new CUNY Graduate School of Journalism rests in the shadow of The New York Times and the revered grand old tradition. The best of any new media is going to have the qualities that Adrian Holouaty espouses in his speech to the Missouri School of Journalism: Ethics, reporting, hustle, persistence, the importance of accuracy and fairness. The epitome of old world journalism is encased rather coyly in the modern Renzo Piano designed building, but traditions are as easy to dress up as a three legged elephant.
Bill Keller seems hip. (INTERNSHIP?) But the question is if Bill Keller were to wear the “Blog This” t-shirt and our distinguished professor were to attend such a meeting wearing the green eye shade and an apron, only emblazoned with a clever cursive anagram in the pattern of the familiar paper header: “yet emits hen work,” would Keller bang on the table and throw a tantrum. It is apparent from the conversation between Keller and Jarvis that they agree on the fundamental principles of how to get there.
In Glen Harlan Reynold’s review of Andrew Keen’s novel “The Cult of the Amateur-How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture,” he writes, “Power corrupts. Big media power corrupted big media, which is why the institutions Keen mourns have lost the preeminent positions in American society. No doubt “little media” power will corrupt the blogosphere and other amateur pursuits to some degree, though the diffusion of power there will likely make that corruption less potent.”
If we succeed as a generation of journalists it will be because we have created a smarter populous by putting the technology, and the breadth of information that comes with it, in the hands of people, by making truth and knowledge an essential goal of the media. And perhaps even making sure everyone is capable of reading the best of them.