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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times

The shocking phone taping and tampering scandal that has led to the demise of The News of the World in the UK augurs well for journalism everywhere.

However, at another level, it illustrates print media’s desperation across the West as it fights a losing battle to survive the ceaseless onslaught of the internet.

On the other side of the spectrum is The New York Times, arguably the best English language newspaper in the world.

The institution has embraced technology willingly, and has a sturdy web presence that is one of the best in the world.

Since The Atlantic prematurely announced its imminent death in 2009, the NYT has become a media institution that everyone who loves independent professional journalism wants to survive and grow.

Yet, as Andrew Rossi’s PageOne: A Year Inside the New York Times chillingly states, the internet has resulted in a quick and comprehensive collapse of the economics of the media industry where advertising paid for independent professional journalism.

The documentary – that premiered at Sundance Film Festival and is now showing at Cumberland in Toronto – raises several compelling questions.

It indicates that even as organised media is constantly changing and adapting to new technology, it doesn’t seem to be doing enough. The changes will be drastic and forced. And perhaps change the very complexion of organised media.

I hope that those who don’t see media (and professional journalism) as merely a technology-driven industry out-number those who do.

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