Johnson, Steven. “Old Growth Media and the Future of News.” Stevenberlinjohnson.com. 14 March 2009. Web. http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2009/03/the-following-is-a-speech-i-gave-yesterday-at-the-south-by-southwest-interactive-festival-in-austiniif-you-happened-to-being.html
Starr, Paul. “Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Age of Corruption)” The New Republic. 4 March 2009. Web. http://www.tnr.com/article/goodbye-the-age-newspapers-hello-new-era-corruption?page=1%2C4.
These are two articles to get students thinking about the future of news and ponder questions about whether any individual or collective actions need to be taken to sustain journalism as the internet and other factors have brought the news industry to a crisis. Johnson presents an optimistic perspective, suggesting that in the online world media operates as an ecosystem and people’s journalistic needs will eventually be met. Starr offers many sharp arguments questioning this sort of optimism, suggesting that journalism is a “public good” that markets (including the online market) tend not to fund adequately. Starr also warns of an increasing gap between “news drop outs” and “news junkies,” suggesting this split has to do with the evolving architecture of the news media. Both of these articles are well-written for undergraduates ; the authors do not use much special terminology nor do they address their readers as disciplinary specialists. The Starr article in particular requires some patient reading because his argument, though concisely articulated, is complex.
I’m attaching some study/discussion questions I’ve used for these readings.