Frank Rich: And That’s Not the Way It Is

26 07 2009

Just returning from vacation, so I’m late to the party on this must-, must-, must-read column by Frank Rich in today’s NYT.

Cronkitefrank_richI missed most of the coverage of Cronkite last week, but Rich notes that most of it ignored Cronkite’s greatest contributions: speaking truth to power during crisis moments for the country. The common theme, he notes, was speculation on whether there could ever again be such a trusted, avuncular figure in a lofty media post. He wonders instead whether any major media figure will ever again have Cronkite’s courage and integrity.

My nomination: Frank Rich. He even has the avuncular part going.

Must-read by Frank Rich: The American Press on Suicide Watch

10 05 2009

frank_richAs he does so often, Frank Rich pulls it all together succinctly and leads us to an irrefutable conclusion:

Just because information wants to be free on the Internet doesn’t mean it can always be free. Web advertising will never be profitable enough to support ambitious news gathering. If a public that thinks nothing of spending money on texting or pornography doesn’t foot the bill for such reportage, it won’t happen.That’s why the debate among journalists about possible forms of payment (subscriptions, NPR-style donations, iTunes-style micropayments, foundation grants) is inside baseball. So is the acrimonious sniping between old media and new. The real question is for the public, not journalists: Does it want to pony up for news, whatever the media that prevail? …

… But if a comprehensive array of real news is to be part of the picture as well, the time will soon arrive for us to put up or shut up. Whatever shape journalism ultimately takes in America, make no mistake that in the end we will get what we pay for.