I was fortunate enough to hear Molly Ivins speak at the University of Texas in November, when she won the Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lecturer award.
Her concern that night was the future of journalism; specifically, the future of newspapers. I have thought of her insights often the last few months.
She was aware that because of the instant availability of news online, that newspapers were going to have to change, and she felt that because large conglomerates have been purchasing many urban newspapers, their main concern has been profits, and not the reporting. Because newspaper profit margins had increased in the 90’s, owners now have the expectation that newspapers should make higher profits than they had made in the past. So reporters have been laid off at many large newspapers, and there is more use of “headline” stories, etc.
She felt that the antidote wasn’t firing good reporters–the antidote was newspapers becoming independent entities, and in-depth reporting was what newspapers should focus on.
How does all this relate to schools and to this blog? Access to information online is changing everything–from businesses, to newspapers, to television….to, yes, schools.
We need to pay attention not only to our students’ interests (would the Boston incident yesterday have happened if anyone there was aware of what their teenagers were watching on t.v.?), but also how access to everything online may ultimately change our schools.
So, thank you Molly, for your insights.
4 thoughts on “Journalism, the web, and Molly”
Molly Ivins spoke to a common thread that schools and newspapers share. If the measure of success is limited to a single item, profits for newspapers, or test results for schools, then the outcome for society will be the loss of good reporting for newspapers and creativity in education. That is not to say that profits are bad and test results irrelevant, just that they are only one of many factors by which success should be measured.