Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hellman's plan not a panacea to all

While much of the reaction to F. Warren Hellman's proposal to start a nonprofit to cover local news has been positive, Robert Gammon of the East Bay Express says it could hurt traditional news organizations.
    "It's true that the Bay Area likely will experience an increase in local news coverage right away, but if the new venture forces traditional news organizations to further contract, then the public will be forced to increasingly depend on inexperienced, unpaid students to inform them about what's happening in the region.
The nonprofit will use UC Berkeley journalism students who will work for free. Gammon said the idea of a nonprofit news organization has merit, but using what amounts to slave labor to make it happen is bad for journalism."


Anonymous said...

Remember, you get what you pay for.

Lou Judson said...

WOW! This is a worry? There is so very little local news on radio outside of KPFA and KQED that it seem this is a sour-grapes response.

I deeply miss things like KTIM in Marin, where a traffic report actually mentioned streets I travel on every day, instead of simple CHP warnings, which are all we get anywhere, that just this small example shows that there is a dire need for sincere local reporting.

At least the journalism students still have the ideals that there is a need for journalism rather than blogging, tweetering, or corporate infomercials so it cannot be worse than what we have now, which is essentially nothing.

Wake up and encourage reall enthusiasm in the possibilities, please.

Lou Judson

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. Paying journalists nothing IS a panacea for newspapers that are going broke. Getting the journalists to accept it is another thing.

Anonymous said...

not really clear to me how a group comprised of J-School students, some professional journalists and a slew of bloggers lacking in objectivity is going to help improve news coverage of the Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

I can somewhat understand Gammon's concern. But reality is that anyone trained properly in journalism rules and regulations will do an admirable job.
For myself, I was a sophomore at a local community college when I started with the Merc News as a stringer. Granted, this was in the early 1980s but the Merc was a solid newspaper back then.
And it wasn't a once-in-while story; I had a beat covering education in Southern Alameda County and covered two school districts plus the local community college.
How good was I then? The Merc kept me on for a year, going into my junior year at SJSU.
I think we need to see how this plays out.