The news business, we all know by now, is in trouble. The Rocky Mountain News may not be the most recent major newspaper to file for bankruptcy, but it's the one that comes to mind.
A report in The Nation magazine notes that private philanthropy has made some efforts--a group called ProPublica has tried to help. It has a staff of thirty-five reporters and editors, and its stories have appeared in The New York Times and the Washington Post. That's a hopeful sign.
Now CBS News (full disclosure: I worked for them from 1964-1993) says it will get reports from a company called GlobalPost, which has some seventy reporters in more than fifty countries. Those reporters will provide information and maybe video, but not ready-for-broadcast packages.
GlobalPost started up in January in response to decisions by many news organizations to close foreign bureaus because they're too expensive. Investigative reporting, another expensive form of journalism because it can take a long time to develop a complicated, hard-to-get story, has also suffered.
I don't know how well that will work--back in Walter Cronkite's day CBS would have snickered at the notion of hiring outside help, but times have surely changed. Boy, have they ever. So let's wish this experiment well.
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