Economist debate: Is the Internet making journalism better or worse?

The Economist

To accompany The Economist's special report on the news industry, Jay Rosen and Nicholas Carr are debating whether the Internet is making journalism better. Rosen acknowledges the economic harm of lower employment and a greater supply of journalistic "rubbish." But he argues that's outweighed by all the benefits, such as a lower cost of doing journalism, new newsgathering and publication tools, and a shift in power from institutions to users. "Journalism is not like brain surgery or flying a 747, which are not improved by having more hands on deck," he writes. "The field is better for gaining a more participatory public at its receiving end." Carr, author of "The Shallows," argues that the Internet has thinned the ranks of professional journalists without offering anything to fill the gap. He notes that the Internet has enabled innovations such as crowdsourcing and citizen journalism, but says, "It is important to recognise that they supplement rigorous, tenacious, in-depth reporting; they do not replace it." The debate will continue with rebuttals on Friday and closing arguments in a week. Anyone can vote; as of Tuesday morning, 72 percent agreed that the Internet is making journalism better.

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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