As newspapers' circulation numbers and ad revenues free-fall, their executives have decided that publications must go "hyper-local" and online, and they've enlisted the help of amateurs...the newspaper industry's embrace of "citizen journalism" has a downside. Reader-submitted content rarely gets vetted by editors.... The [Gannett-owned Tallahassee] Democrat published a story by a retirement home's development director about the complex's great new golf course—without disclosing her job—and a woman wrote an article about a boy who'd organized a cancer charity event without noting that she's his mom. This may sound like small-time stuff, but it exemplifies the self-defeating side effects of newspapers' new strategy for survival.Call it the second phase of the Usa Today-ification of the press; after all, the media empire that gave us the McPaper is now setting newspapers' online agenda.
I also ended up thinking about the media brouhaha at the State Capitol, where old-school journalists are trying to band together against new-media types and bloggers, some of whom have been accused of being glorified party operatives. Clearly, as media is going digital, there is a fine line between journalism and advocacy, and so much comes down to disclosure.