(Silly disclaimer, but one that demonstrates a lesson learned: This post had some 20 retweets, but the cache was cleared because of me changing from Lavrusik.com to VadimLavrusik.com and back to Lavrusik.com – Apologies if your RT is now undocumented on this blog.)

Today the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism released a report by Leonard Downie, Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post, and Michael Schudson, a journalism school professor, that aim to propose new steps to take on the challenge of supporting public affairs reporting. Below is a compilation of links to stories of reactions on the report. With quotes from each for you to get an idea of what some of the media folks out there are saying. Feel free to post others in the comments that you agreed with or found helpful. I am going to keep updating this as much as I can with new reactions. ….

Reconstruction : CJR
Columbia Journalism Review | October 19, 2009
A collection of reactions on the Columbia Journalism Review website.
Excerpt from article: “This report proposes new steps for maintaining a vibrant, independent press, with special emphasis on local “accountability journalism” that is essential to civic life. The report is available on this page, along with commentary from five responders and a podcast with the authors.”

Executive Summary: “The Reconstruction of American Journalism” : CJR
Columbia Journalism Review | October 19, 2009
Executive summary from the editors of Columbia Journalism Review.
Excerpt from article: “News reporting that holds accountable those with power and influence has been a vital part of American democratic life—especially in places with daily newspapers profitable enough, and with owners public-spirited enough, to maintain substantial reporting staffs. Accountability journalism is now at risk, along with the advertising-supported economic foundations of newspapers.”

Downie and Schudson’s 6 steps toward “reconstructing” journalism Nieman Journalism Lab
NiemanLab.org | October 19, 2009
A good outline of the 6 points that are emphasized in the report.
Excerpt from article: “There is no market solution obvious right now that will provide the same level of subsidy to journalism that existed under the monopoly paper model,” C.W. Anderson said.”

Poynter Online – The Biz Blog
Poynter Institute | October 19, 2009
Rick Edmonds, business analyst at Poynter discusses the report. A great summary of the report.
Excerpt from article: “In the end, such a fund may prove a tough sell politically or a flawed concept. But credit to Downie and Columbia for kicking an important public debate up a gear.”

MinnPost – A modest proposal for federal funding of journalism
Minnpost.com | October 19, 2009
The founder of Minnpost.com, Joel Kramer, reacts to the report.
Quote: “I’m open to the idea of some federal funding for journalism, especially at the local and regional level, where the decline of the old business model is doing the most damage. Government funding need not lead to de-fanging the watchdog: look at the quality of the news operation of the BBC.”

Mediactive: Solutions for Journalism, or Re-Creating a Priesthood?
Mediactive.com | October 19, 2009
Dan Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, on the report. The quote below says it all.
Quote: “The sentiments behind this executive summary of a new report are fine ones. No one wants to see journalism disappear whether or not newspapers do. But the authors’ solution is, in part, another example of asking taxpayers to fix problems we can solve ourselves.”

Giving up on the news business – BuzzMachine
Buzzmachine.com | October 19, 2009
Jeff Jarvis, professor at CUNY’s Graduate Journalism School, on the report.
Excerpt from article: “Before reaching their dangerous conclusion – recommending government supported journalism in a report called the Reconstruction of American Journalism – former Washington Post editor Leonard Downie and Columbia journalism prof Michael Schudson make some basic and, I believe, profoundly mistaken assumptions, namely: ‘That journalism is now at risk, along with the advertising-supported economic foundations of newspapers.'”

American media need innovation, not subsidy Pursuing the Complete Community Connection
Stevebuttry.wordpress.com | October 19, 2009
Steve Buttry, C3 innovation coach at Gazette Communications, on the report.
Quote: Given the stature of Downie and Columbia, I expect this report to be taken seriously. I would be surprised, though, if it changes much or anything. I hope the authors catch up sometime on the world of social media and the private-sector possibilities for developing new business models.

Much ado about nothing | Yelvington.com
Yelvington.com | October 19, 2009
Steve Yelvington, a new media strategist, newsroom trainer and coach, on today’s report.
Quote: “After an exhaustive survey it leads us to a recommendation for some Internet taxes to create “a national Fund for Local News” that would provide grants to underwrite local journalism. It is underwhelming as a “solution” to whatever problems might be posed by the disruptive changes in media, and in the current political and economic climate, highly unlikely.”

Reflections of a Newsosaur: Columbia writes off the MSM. Now what?
Newsosaur | October 20, 2009
Alan Mutter, a consultant and professor at Berkeley Graduate Journalism School.
Quote: “In failing to offer many original ideas, it fell particularly short of its stated mission of offering a blueprint for reconstructing journalism. Its single greatest achievement may be demonstrating that there is a lot more work for the rest of us to do.”

An Epitaph for American Journalism
RosenblumTV.com | October 20, 2009
Michael Rosenblum, an alum from Columbia and video journalism expert.
Quote: “My friend Jeff Jarvis runs one of the great journalism courses in the world. He forces his students to come up with a business plan for a journalism based business. He has them present it to a jury. And then, guess what? He funds the best ones with seed grants. Now that is a model for journalism for the future. Not this. That gets you a robust profession that knows how to survive and thrive. This gets you a tote bag, and umbrella and a pink slip.”

‘The Reconstruction of American Journalism’ could leave newspapers behind – Editors Weblog
Editorsweblog.org | October 21, 2009
Nestor Bailly from Editor’s Weblog on the report.
Quote: “Any in-depth discussion of advertising, paid content schemes (subscriptions, micropayments, paywalls) and for-profit business models is noticeably lacking in favor of the nonprofit approach. Furthermore the recommendations presented are not really that new or innovative; ideas like these have been circulating for a while.”

“All the News That’s Fit to Subsidize” – WSJ Opinion
WSJ.com | October 21, 2009
Seth Lipsky, an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School, reacts on WSJ.com.
Quote: “Speaking as one entrepreneur who has tasted failure in the news business, let me say that if government subsidies for news gathering ever come up for a voter referendum, I hope Mr. Downie, a great editor to be sure, stands on his original principles and stays home.”

Schudson Talks Back : CJR
Columbia Journalism Review | October 22, 2009
Michael Schudson responds to reactions from readers to the study.
Quote: “Yes, there is more horizontal exchange of news than pre-Internet and pre-social media. But our focus is on how original news content is produced, not how news, once produced, circulates.”

The state and journalism – Financial Times
Financial Times | October 24, 2009
Christopher Caldwell, the senior editor at The Weekly Standard, on the Reconstruction of American Journalism report.
Quote: “But the idea that the taxpayer ought to have a say in what he pays for is central to democracy itself. If it is democracy the authors want to protect, and not just a métier, then insulating such a programme from pressure could work against the very ideals the authors proclaim.”

Nick Coleman: Subsidies? For news? Whoa, Nelly. | StarTribune.com
Star Tribune | October 24, 2009
Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman on the report and government support journalism.
Quote: Asking the government to lend a hand to the news business is like asking the wolves to help a lame old sheepdog by not running so fast when they come for dinner. The dog may survive a little while longer, but the sheep will not. Journalists are supposed to approach power with skepticism, not with hats in hand.

How to save local journalism, US-style | Media | The Observer
Guardian | October 25, 2009
Peter Preston, of The Observer in the U.K., on the report.
Quote: “What? A small levy – or licence fee – on broadband operators to help local newsrooms survive? You read that here six months ago (and in a Dutch government report shortly afterwards). Make telecom users pay? That was Lord Carter’s notion for Digital Britain last summer. Don’t fret over little pay walls for this and that – build a great wall and let surfers roam free within it. It’s an idea that keeps on coming.”

Special thanks to Publish2, which allowed me to compile and include these links with ease.

10 thoughts on “Read reactions to the Reconstruction of American Journalism Report”

  1. #columbiajreport would benefit by collaboration among Journalists and b'ness to identify and overcome the causes of the news economic crisis. But consistent with the “Post-We” era, Downie and Schudson seem to think that the only way to preserve the integrity of the journalist is to eliminate the need for business people, by assuming a non-profit status.

    I've posted in two parts about this: “The 'Post We' Era Part I – Missing the 'We' attitude of the Greatest Generation” http://bit.ly/4rLVMN & “The 'Post We' Era Part II – Journalism is not the news business, but the opinion business.” http://bit.ly/5JftZ

    There are two posts because I believe there are two problems. It will take solving both to succeed. The first post is about the first “internal” hurdle – the lack of “We” among Journalists and their business counterparts in designing solutions. The second post is about the second “external” hurdle journalists and business counterparts need to solve – the lack of “We” on the internet where all voices are equal but separate and community is scarce.

    Solve both problems and I think you come up with the answer to Mathew Ingram's tweeted question: “How do we provide something worth paying for?”

  2. Very nice work, collating the reactions here. Re the quote from Steve Buttry: I'm not sure it's fair to say that the authors didn't account for some of the new models that are emerging. Well, maybe it's accurate to say that they don't seem to believe in the future that could emerge there, but they do at least survey a fair swath of what some are doing (and are excited by). I wrote a post on this, too, at http://bit.ly/2cMkkO, and this was greatly enlivened today by a spirited comment from a prof'l journalist who has worked online and offline.

  3. Very nice work on compiling this…the solutions and insights are as varied as ever. I watch my local newspaper die a bit more each day and waffle on what to do..and then executing too little and with hesitancy. Sad. Thanks for your efforts!

  4. So how will you objectively criticize the entity that signs your paycheck?
    As a pastor who deals with that dilemma weekly I warn against becoming a 501c3.

  5. So how will you objectively criticize the entity that signs your paycheck?
    As a pastor who deals with that dilemma weekly I warn against becoming a 501c3.

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