from the I-care-what-I-care-about dept.
blackbearnh writes "As newspapers struggle to survive and local broadcasts try to find a way to compete with cable news, more and more news outlets are banking on what people want to hear about, rather than what they need to hear. Thoughtful analysis of problems is being pushed out of the way to make room for more celebrity gossip. Electronic news guru Chris Lee thinks that as people get news increasingly tailored to their tastes, the overall knowledge of important issues is plummeting. 'I think one of the observations about how consumers are behaving in the past five years that has surprised me the most is, again, this lack of feeling responsible for knowing the news of their country and their local government of that day. I don't think it's just a technology question. I think if you asked people now versus the same age group 20 years ago, I think they'd be stunningly less informed now about boring news, and tremendously more knowledgeable about bits of news that really interest them.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "With news organizations struggling and newsroom jobs disappearing, each week brings new calls from writers and editors who believe their employers should save themselves by charging for Internet access. However, in an interesting turnabout, the NY Times reports that Saul Friedman, a journalist for more than 50 years and a columnist for Newsday since 1996, announced last week he was quitting after Newsday decided that non-subscribers to Newsday's print edition will have to pay $5 a week to see much of the site, making it one of the few newspapers in the country to take such a plunge. 'My column has been popular around the country, but now it was really going to be impossible for people outside Long Island to read it,' he says. Friedman, who is 80, said he would continue to write about older people for the site 'Time Goes By.' 'One of the reasons why the NY Times eventually did away with its old "paywall" was that its big name columnists started complaining that fewer and fewer people were reading them,' writes Mike Masnick at Techdirt. 'Newspapers who decide to put up a paywall may find that their best reporters decide to go elsewhere, knowing that locking up their own content isn't a good thing in terms of career advancement.'"