Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Dear Michael Schudson, You Are Delusional

"You talk to people, these small online startups, as Len Downie and I did, the optimism is absolutely infectious. Even journalists who have left or been fired from or been let go from traditional mainstream organizations now are working at lower wages for some of these organizations and they are grinning ear to ear. They have never had such a good time." -Michael Schudson, academic sociologist and faculty member of the Journalism School at Columbia University, in an interview conducted at Yale, as quoted on media's unhappy pallbearer Jim Romenesko. Well!


To wit:

1. "Serious news organizations sometimes with five, sometimes with 10, sometimes with 20 journalists, mostly young, but not all, who are doing serious reporting in their locales, sometimes that the mainstream media never did or hasn't been doing for a long time."

Goodbye, old people who have been employed! (Old, by the way, is "over 40.") There is no place for you.

2. In case we've forgotten: this year, a largely-unscientific, self-selecting poll found that 6% of jobless journalists found new jobs in their field.

3. How will there be journalism jobs, professor? "But you still need some money to pay these people and they are finding it primarily through philanthropy at this point. We are hoping that government will take an interest in funding such projects, as well as mainstream projects."

Oh! Yes! The journalists will work for the government. What a great idea!

4. "We need a mixed model of funding streams and we need society to take a kind of common responsibility for providing news to the democratic public."

Have you been outside the J-School, where you and your pals are taking tens of thousands of dollars from young people to give them a ticket to nothing? Do you know what the "democratic public" thinks of news-suppliers? Here, go read the comments on this blog, which include:

* "They could always go to work for the Obama adminstration…oh wait…they were already doing that."


* "'Journalists' should be registered like sex offenders."

And go on and on. Good luck with your fantasies!

20 Comments / Post A Comment

KarenUhOh (#19)

Do you have a toll-free number I can call? How much do I have to pledge for the Morrisey CD gift pack?

KarenUhOh (#19)

I suppose the spellchecker is extra. Do you take Discover?

mathnet (#27)


berthamason (#740)

Yes, please. I want to pay for The Awl. I'll even put together the Morrissey CD gift pack and design a cover and stuff ("85 Timeless Classics If You Call Now!"). For serious.

Yeah when do we get the "This is not a request for a tip, it's just an envelope" envelope in the mail so I can stuff it with a bottle of cheap wine?

Barring that, when's the membership pledge drive where Ana Marie Cox does a live annotated Obama Flickr stream, Emily cooks a fucking steak, Mary provides color commentary on a runway accessories show, all while Choire and Balk and Cho sit in the background smoking?

All that to say, I'd gladly pay for this site!

Bittersweet (#765)

Ditto. Plus, what about The Awl Store? I bet everyone here would love them some naked bear and Morrissey t-shirts and coffee mugs.

slinkimalinki (#182)

cho's old enough to smoke?

Hamilton (#122)

To be fair, most journalists are already registered sex offenders.

barnhouse (#1,326)

Ignore. You guys are doing the right thing, even if it is really hard right now.

Apropos of which, WHY not have a voluntary subscription amount that we can Paypal over?? I WANT TO PAY FOR THE AWL. But I'm not ALLOWED to pay.

hockeymom (#143)

Along those same lines…IS THERE A MAILING ADDRESS FOR THE AWL? Or do you does this fantastic site live in the clouds, among the unicorns?

Please give us a mailing address. And not one of those stupid P.O. Boxes, neither.

hockeymom (#143)

edit "do you"…can we get an edit feature also, for Festivus?

KarenUhOh (#19)

If you come to my house, I will bake cookies. You will receive a coupon for a complimentary beverage of your choice.

You may smoke outside.

myfanwy (#1,124)

I wonder why having a public broadcaster/national news outlet isn't part of the recovery spending programs in the US. I mean, you guys have PBS and NPR, but they don't have as much influence as the Beeb in GB and worldwide or the CBC here in the frozen North. I am making a distinction between publicly-funded and government-run news outlets, the latter being, uh, somewhat biased.

I mean, isn't it a win-win situation? Employed journalists! And non-corporate-sponsored, presumably objective and unmuzzled journalism! Or is this socialist nonsense? Sorry. It's really cold here and my brain is shutting down.

"I am making a distinction between publicly-funded and government-run news outlets …" Actually, the little-known 28th Amendment to the US Constitution states that, for purposes of public discourse, Americans are forbidden from making exactly that distinction. All government funding is assumed to come with mandatory CIA tooth-radios and Remote Loyalty Cranium Bombs. Thus, since all government dollars are de facto Opinion Dollars, all privately owned corporations are assumed to be completely bias-free. The proof of the equation is left as a demonstration to the reader (hint : Gub'mint Bad).

myfanwy (#1,124)

Jesus. I'm sorry your Constitution won't allow that?

Actually, I'm joking about the Constitution; it's really just our corn-syrup-clogged brains that won't allow it.

myfanwy (#1,124)

This makes me feel better, but at the same time worse.

tanene (#501)

There are some sorts of WPA happy ideas being pushed regarding the early '10 Jobs bill. WPA, as the prior great public funding stream for, among other things, some really great out of work writers, as well some not so really great writers. (And muralists, and infrastructure builders, etc.) Also, for what it's worth, I anxiously await funding options to keep The Awl smoking.

HiredGoons (#603)

That blog made me all stabby.

Mindpowered (#948)

Go have a fucking steak.

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