Very interesting New York Times article on new, primarily internet-based outlets for investigative journalism, often supported in large part on a philanthropic basis. Clearly, this sort of thing, typified by both the local outfits the Times is focusing on and also stuff like Pro Publica and the Center for Independent Media are an important part of the future. I might also suggest a tip of the cap in the direction of my colleagues at ThinkProgress who don’t (yet) do much “reporting” in the traditional sense, but do undertake a lot of original research that brings information to light that would otherwise go unnoticed.
On top of this new growth, one has to assume that despite the troubles in the news business some of the current properties will survive. In particular, though us liberals aren’t going to like it, the global holdings of the News Corporation in both television and newsprint leaves them well-positioned to create some kind of worldwide multimedia news product. And right now of all the currently sinking newspaper and television brands, many will fail and the survivors (I would guess something based on the BBC and then two or three others) will emerge as rival world-spanning big English-language reporting venues.
Ultimately, I think this transition is going to be much less of a disaster for journalism than a lot of people in the business seem to think. What it probably will be is a rolling disaster for journalists in which outlets are consolidated, jobs disappear, lots of people see their wages fall, and everyone sees their working conditions deteriorate as there’s pressure to produce more and more for more venues — web articles, online video, etc.