Magazine article Editor & Publisher

We Can't Afford to Be Our Own Worst Enemy

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

We Can't Afford to Be Our Own Worst Enemy

Article excerpt

This month's feature story on the Leveson Inquiry, press regulation, and the necessity for a free press comes at an opportune time (or perhaps a terrible time, if you happen to be the E&P writer or graphic designer tasked with meeting this month's deadline).

As we go to press, this week alone has seen Bloomberg News reporters accessing private client information, the Justice Department's shoot-first-ask-questions-later seizure of records from The Associated Press, a Brett Mends column titled "The news media is even worse than you think" (WSJ MarketWatch, May 12), and Scott Pelley's assertion that "We're getting the big stories wrong, over and over again" in his Quinnipiac University Fred Friendly First Amendment Award acceptance speech on May 10.

First Amendment crusaders point fingers at the Justice Department for being too intrusive; press regulation proponents point to Bloomberg and the spread of misinformation after the Boston bombings as evidence that reporters should follow a government-mandated code of conduct; and Pelley wonders, "The president of the United States and the FBI were telling us what our bedrock principles should be? Aren't we supposed to be watching them?" As if massive declines in print advertising and circulation, the migration of readers to digital platforms, lack of revenue, and the common need to accomplish more work with fewer employees weren't enough, now newspapers find themselves in the position of defending their right to perform the investigative journalism in the first place.

It's enough to make an editor's head spin. …

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