Joel Achenbach Article Response

6 02 2011

Joel Achenbach’s article from The Washington Post, “I Really Need You to Read This Article, Okay?” describes how our society is becoming less interested in print news and more interested in the instantaneous news the web brings.

No longer does a journalist have to wait for a response to his article, because he can check his page views and comments instantly online. It used to just take a journalists “gut instinct” to determine whether or not a story is newsworthy, now it is determined by how much online circulation it gets. Achenbach makes a great example when he says “What if it turns out that most readers are sick of Iraq, or don’t want any foreign news at all? Do you just toss it out? That’s not journalism, it’s marketing.”

I have to admit, I would probably click on a story that said “Britney’s Dog Menaced by Sharks,” because who wouldn’t want to see the crazy reaction that Britney probably had during that debacle? While we do love our tabloids, what we do or don’t click on in the instant that we scan our homepage news shouldn’t determine what is considered newsworthy. Journalists should never be “chasing readers,” they should be reporting on the stories around them.

A journalists responsibilities are not changing in my opinion, it will always be up to them to decide on what stories the world should know about. The platform on which they tell those stories are what is changing constantly. We now can add more pictures, hyperlinks, videos and additional websites to better tell a story.

As for the age of the newspaper slowly fading away, this may be true, but literacy will never disappear entirely. It will just convert to a new form.