May 19, 2004

A JOURNALIST I KNOW emails that the loss of credibility his profession is suffering is "seismic," and that he's considering quitting. What's more, he's hearing depressed comments from quite a few colleagues.

Another reader -- who probably doesn't want his name used because he works for a major newspaper -- emails: "I've tuned out the MSM and rely on the 'Net -- bloggers,, etc. -- to keep me informed, which it does quite well. That way I get all the info but don't have to endure Dan, Tom and Peter, Wolf, etc. I miss nothing that's happening but I gain all the stories that the mainstream media simply ignore." If you saw his address line, you'd know how striking a statement this is.

Perhaps, as this bit of graffiti I photographed outside the UT Main Library today suggests (or at least illustrates), the loss of credibility suffered by mainstream journalism is at a tipping point. (Actually, I first saw it on Sunday but -- pace Adam Groves -- I didn't have the camera with me then.)

I think the trend is too bad -- I'd much rather have trusted and trustworthy mainstream journalism than the reverse -- but, frankly, the loss of credibility is well-earned, as pretty much any blog reader knows. But if you're still wondering, go read Cathy Seipp's column on John Carroll of the Los Angeles Times, and his comments on journalism. Excerpt: "Every single thing we read in the paper, including hard news, is the product of other people's opinions about what we should know. Problems happen when those in charge believe in their own objectivity so much they no longer know that one simple fact."

Read this, too.

UPDATE: Hey, but there's a positive side. A reader who signs her email "Maggie" sends this:

It's all YOUR fault. :)

I have been "gainfully" unemployed for the past four years with no results in all of the jobs that I have applied for. And they number in the hundreds.

But next week on Tuesday morning I am going for an interview with the local newspaper to work as a reporter. I think it's all your fault, because after 9.11 I started reading the news on the internet, and that's when I discovered you. Since, I have studied your format of writing which is very easy to read. I then decided to try my hand at blogging, which didn't last too long, but was a good exercise.

When I sent in my resume to the newspaper, I also sent an article I had written and posted to my old blog. And who influenced me? YOU. Thank you, for being online.

The blog giveth, and the blog taketh away.