|News Is a Verb: Journalism at the End of the Twentieth Century
by Pete Hamill
This is not an objective or neutral essay. The subject is so deeply entwined with my life that I can't write about it in a cold, detached manner. Quite simply, I love newspapers and the men and women who make them. Newspapers have given me a full, rich life. They have provided me with a ringside seat at some of the most extraordinary events in my time on the planet. They have been my university. They have helped feed, house, and educate my children. I want them to go on and on and on.
|"With the usual honorable exceptions, newspapers are getting dumber. They are increasingly filled with sensation, rumor, press-agent flackery, and bloated trivialities at the expense of significant facts. The Lewinsky affair was just a magnified version of what has been going on for some time. Newspapers emphasize drama and conflict at the expense of analysis. They cover celebrities as if reporters were a bunch of waifs with their noses pressed enviously to the windows of the rich and famous. They are parochial, square, enslaved to the conventional pieties. The worst are becoming brainless printed junk food. All across the country, in large cities and small, even the better newspapers are predictable and boring. I once heard a movie director say of a certain screenwriter: 'He aspired to mediocrity, and he succeeded.' Many newspapers are succeeding in the same way."
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