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America’s Freedom of the Press Not the Gold Standard Anymore October 20, 2010

Filed under: Journalism — Tiffany C @ 3:52 PM
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Image by Ed Stein, Rocky Mtn. News, NEA


America’s freedom of the press was a beacon of light, the shining example the rest of the world aspired to attain. In recent years, America has slipped to a tie for 24th place with the Czech Republic, according to Freedom House.

What has changed in America? Has the war on terror taken a toll on First Amendment freedoms, or is it more complicated?

Craig Aaron and Josh Stearns raised this precise issue in their articleIs America Still a Beacon for Press Freedom?” in The Huffington Post, October 27, 2008. An issue brought to light is media consolidation. Media consolidation, according to Aaron and Stearns, is in direct conflict with press freedom. The fewer news sources, the more profit driven the industry gets, the more press freedom suffers.

The Society of Professional Journalists released a statement about the restrictions by BP and The Department of Homeland Security in coverage of the Gulf oil disaster.

Videos of illegal arrests of journalist are prevalent on YouTube, like this arrest of a reporter for ABC affiliate KVIA::

This is the arrest of Amy Goodman in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention

In the 2009 poll, by the First Amendment Center, 39 percent of Americans say the press “has too much freedom to do what it wants,”  an increase over the last few years.

A shield law would protect journalists from prosecution for keeping their sources confidential.  Would a shield law be enough to reverse the current course of eroding press freedoms? Do we need to educate the public better about why freedom of the press is crucial? What role do journalists take in the current attitudes?

Tiffany Coggins


Is Print Journalism Dying or Dead? September 22, 2010

Lascaux Cave Painting courtesy of UNESCO People pluck their best black outfit and lay it on the bed, the driver readies the hearse, and the mourners practice their songs of solace. They grieve for the death of print journalism as if rigor mortis had set in.

Eric Alterman wrote in his article, Out of Print, for The New Yorker, about the issues wreaking havoc with the newspaper industry such as loss of readers, advertisers and market value. Maybe the typical daily newspaper is dead, but democracy needs news gatherers, like print journalists. CNN ran a segment on this subject.

Harbingers of death sang every time a new medium, or era, of journalism began. Yet, journalism survived. Newspaper Death Watch reports the downward decline of newspapers while documenting the new age of journalism. Even documentary film maker, Michael Moore, added his opinion into the discussion by blaming capitalism. 

Media tells print journalism students they are entering an obsolete field, yet those students are still applying for the degree. Students must prepare for the future of print journalism by supplementing their education. Universities need to change curriculum to meet the students needs like Columbia University has done.  They have to expect change, and adapt. If students took minors that made use of online and social media, they could bridge the gap between traditional newspapers and citizen journalist bloggers.

Change scares people and industries. What do you think? Will newspapers go the way of cave drawings? Can they exist solely online?