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Quality Journalism Should Matter to the Digital Generation

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This video of the last day at the Rocky Mountain News, the latest newspaper to close up shop in the midst of a spiraling downturn in the news industry, was posted on Vimeo a few days ago by Matthew Roberts. Over at The Joy of Children's Literature blog Denise Johnson wonders if today's generation will remember how the news "used to be published."

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

Of course this is a topic near and dear to me and my colleagues. It's not just the demise of the broadsheet that worries journalists, but the seeming growing indifference to the kind of content that newspapers and their expert staffs crank out day in and day out. Just this morning we see that the government is undertaking an investigation of the effectiveness of children's car seats, not because of crash test results, but because the Chicago Tribune discovered that those results were not made public.

How can we get the digital generation to appreciate that not all "news" on the Internet is equal, and that the Fourth Estate is an essential component of a democracy? Do today's students know how to distinguish between online journalism and other info they find on their favorite sites?

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Good point. As an avid newspaper reader (eventhough I love the web as well) I believe if we lose our newspapers it is loss that can't be overstated. A democracy demands accountability. Without people willing to peer into, examine, and expose the doings of political and economic powers that be (regardless of the level: city, state, national) there is a serious risk that abuse of power will mount.

Its difficult enough to maintain accountability for those we trust to lead and rule. Without our newpapers, who should be the guardians of truth, our democracy has a real weakspot. The internet is great and it is a medium that will continue to grow, but it cannot fill the void that would be left if our papers go under.

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