Monday, April 13, 2009

The End of Newspapers

So here I am reading this Clay Shirky post, Retrieved April 13, 2009, and thinking what would happen if newspapers did die out in our country. I don't have an answer that will save the newspaper industry, sorry guys. The fact is "Five years ago, the market value of the publicly traded U.S. newspaper companies was $80 billion. Today it is $5B." or at least that is what I heard on on Twitter from @gcolony).

It would seem that the newspaper industry as we know it is dying and we really can't save it. On the other hand journalism isn't dead and it isn't dying. As I see it journalism is actually getting stronger, but we readers MUST be get stronger as well.

Over the past decade of so my news source has changed from getting most of my news from the big 3, (Newspaper, TV, and radio) to most of my news from the Internet. Though I still get a lot of my information from major news sites. I tend to follow up with in-depth reporting from non-traditional news sources.

The difficulty with this model of consumption, I don't care how they pay for it I just want my news, is that almost everything I read ends up having some sort of slant. Sometimes it is easy to see the slant, al a Fox News or MSNBC, but sometimes it isn't. It would seem that one way to keep revenue flowing is to consistently take one side of an issue.

The obvious problem of course becomes how do we get unbiased news. The obvious answer then becomes critical reading. Evidently we don't have enough critical readers though because it seems more and more people are willing to flock to the same biased information sites and talk to like minded folk while denigrating those who think differently. The echo chamber as they call it.

This is my voice that hopefully rises above the echo chamber that is the education world and falls on the ears of real world parents. The most important skill our children need to learn today is critical thinking.

Yes, I know reading, writing, arithmetic is also important. Those are basic skills and they need to be the foundation but as children grow they also need to be able to evaluate if what they are reading, writing, or figuring is of quality.

We can start today as teacher or parent instructing our young readers how to look for sources. We can start today learning how to make quality citations,
Retrieved April 13, 2009. We can start by insisting that every piece of news we read or watch have quality transparent unbiased sources, and if biases sources are used then they are countered with biased sources from different view points so the reader can make their own judgment.

We can start by labeling posts like this opinion and requiring news posts to have sources. I can even see the day that news articles might have the sources posted first so we can decided to read a news story based on the quality of the research put into developing the story. OF course that is the future. Today we critical readers have to constantly be on guard and remember to step out of the echo chamber once in a while.

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