by JS O’Brien
(With apologies to Dr. Denny, whom I admire greatly, and who would certainly fix journalism if he could.)
Lost in the justified hand-wringing over the loss of newspaper jobs, and the inevitable reduction in the number of important stories journalists can uncover, is the issue of “quality.” I mourn the loss of quantity in the journalistic ranks as much as anyone, and I’m betting more than some, but I am more concerned with quality these days.
I happened to run across these two articles, here and here, by Alva James-Johnson, a columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Perhaps things have changed, but in my brief brush with newspapers many years ago, one did not become a columnist until one had demonstrated a depth of knowledge, insight, erudition, and quality of thought that qualified one for something near the top of one’s profession. Columnists were the cream of the crop. I hope, based on this example, that this is not the case these days. Continue reading