Monday, October 13, 2008

Do you need to know the cause of your problem before you attempt to solve it?

The presidential and vice-presidential debates to date have raised this issue (Palin on global warming; Obama vs. McCain on Iraq war, etc.), but I'm actually referring to the all-too-slowly improving web efforts of newspapers, in the face of their declining print circulation and advertising revenue.

Paul Farhi kicked off this round with a "Don't blame the journalism" piece in American Journalism Review, in which he blamed factors beyond the control of journalists, asserting that journalism is alive and well. Not quite, riposted Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine. In fact, "It is our fault", says Jeff.

So back to our original question: can newspapers (and journalists) realistically expect to fix their problems if they haven't acknowledged the cause?

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