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The Intersection of ‘Emergence’, ‘Philosophy of Knowledge’ & Government Responsibility

There has been quite the hullabaloo these days about implications of the financial troubles of newspapers  in the West. For some time, I feared that the newsroom cutbacks in all newspapers and the outright bankruptcy and closing of others, would have a profoundly negative impact on American society. I was convinced by the assertions of David Simon, Steve Coll and Bob Garfield. However, I recently came around on this issue and decided that I have no valid reason to mourn the death of newspapers in America. Instead, I found myself as angry at newspapers as ever.

Then I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, On the Media (you should give a listen to their weekly, one-hour meta-gab ) where the host, Bob Garfield, invited listeners to email him with a eulogy (he seemed to be looking for nostalgia) for the dead American newspaper industry.

Here is my response to Bob Garfield’s call for eulogies

Now read a compelling argument to the contrary that is probably more convincing (and certainly more well-written) than mine: David Simon’s testimony to the Senate Hearing on the Future of Journalism. You can also watch him deliver this speech in the Senate

During our next seminar, we will discuss:

  • Do the newspapers’ failures account for their insolvency? Or did modern technologies destroy the newspapers (or both)?
  • Do we need newspapers in their current incarnation?
  • Can we trust that a superior mechanism of digging up and delivering news will emerge in the place of newspapers?
  • Can we rely on ‘democratic’ or ‘citizen’ journalists? (think ‘Emergence’)
  • What should the role of the government be in saving newspapers (for instance, the French government bailed out Le Monde)?

Come to our next session with some well-reasoned, written responses to the above questions.


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