We all know that journalism is taking a huge hit in the Internet Age. Quality, in-depth reporting is dying, being replaced by blogging, rumor, innuendo and unchecked sources.
A great example is a story from the L.A. Times. It’s titled “Sex Scandals that Rocked Hollywood” and talks about a collection of illicit deeds that (nearly) ruined careers.
Once you look at the article, you see that it’s nothing more than a “top ten” style post that so many sites churn out to keep the content of the day up, even if they don’t have anything to post. I used to do them on this very site (and still do occasionally).
Of course, I suspect these things were born from the print media. Does anyone doubt that “10 Best X of X” lists that show up every December are the product of someone wanting to spend as little time in the office as possible before they go home to their families? Reusing information is great, and it can add depth to a story. That’s why these lists are so successful. (Although I can’t help but wish that you could actually still use them to pick a movie to see at the theater during the Christmas-New Year break.)
The question is, though, mired in the middle of the worst economic crisis of most of our lifetimes, while so much has changed even in the Hollywood offices, is this the best way to use your column inches? In the piece’s defense, maybe it was a sidebar. You lose that perspective when items from the day’s paper migrate online. I could see this article tucked next to an in depth look at the ongoing Letterman scandal. A quick search on their website reveals nothing from the same time period, though.
Print journalism doesn’t need to demean itself by pretending to be a blog. It has cache already. We turn to them daily whether their ad sales let them know it or not. I honestly even like the L.A. Times and their themed blogs, and if this post had been inside one of those blogs, I wouldn’t have written this post.