Media Savvy: NPR’s Schorr vital link to ‘responsible journalism’

Sam McManis – The Sacramento Bee

Copyright The Sacramento Bee
(An excerpt)
Media Savvy caught up with Schorr by phone from his home office in Washington, D.C., to talk about the current state of media and the state of Schorr.
Q: In the book’s introduction, you talk about adapting from one medium to another, having worked in newspapers, radio and television. I wonder what you think about the changing media landscape today.
A: At my age, I look at it and say, “Boy, I’m glad that’s for other people.” I couldn’t stand what’s going on today (as a reporter). Of course, the changes are partly technological. You no longer have to rely on a great newspaper like the Sacramento Bee or on a television network to get news. You can go on the Web and get anything you need.
And I’ve found that people are now deluged with information. In my day, as a newspaper man, radio man and television man, I had the feeling I was telling people something they wouldn’t otherwise know. That’s no longer true. I’m glad I’m not 20 years younger, because I’d be very discouraged.
Q: Are you discouraged because, in a lot of cases, we’re not sure of the veracity of the information?
A: That’s part of it. On a much larger scale, I’m discouraged by the fact that radio and television – and to some extent even newspapers – faced with a shrinking market, tend to go more and more for sensation, for scandal, for murders and sex stories and so on, because they’re trying to entice the public with something they otherwise wouldn’t have.
The assumption is, the public doesn’t want to know about big issues around the around. They want to know what O.J. Simpson is doing. The result is, the economics of news tends to drive our news media into worse and worse types of stories.
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