The Future of Newspapers

(Photo Courtesy of Amazon Images)

This season of The Wire focuses on the newspaper industry and how it relates to the storyline presented in the previous four seasons. Back in Season 3, I analyzed how the media was starting to play an influential role in the perceptions of specific characters. While doing research, I came upon information on creator David Simon as he has been a public advocate for keeping newspapers alive. To many, the newspaper is seen as a dying art form. With more and more of the world being connected online, the news flows through mobile devices, iPads and laptops. Paper newspapers are not hitting the subscription rates they use to.

In this video, Simon talks before the Senate in 2009 in a meeting called by John Kerry to discuss the future of journalism. (Start at 30:46) David Simon Speaks via Democracy Now

Simon also wrote an article on the Huffington Post in 2008 about was he too harsh in his depiction of the Baltimore Sun in Season 5. For the full rant, read the whole article as it is written in Simon’s own words. Here is an interesting excerpt to get the ball rolling.

“Here’s what happened in season five of The Wire when almost no one — among the working press, at least — was looking:

Our newspaper missed every major story.

The mayor, who came in promising reform, is instead forcing his police department to once again cook the stats to create the illusion that crime is going down. Uncovered.

The school system has been teaching test questions to improve No Child Left Behind scores, and to protect the mayor politically and to validate a system that is failing to properly educate city children. No expose published.

Key investigations and prosecutions are undercut or abandoned by the political machinations of police officials, prosecutors and political figures. Departmental priorities make high-level drug investigation prohibitive.

Not the news that’s fit to print.

Drug wars, territorial disputes, and the assassination of the city’s largest drug importer manage to produce a brief inside the metro section that refers only to the slaying of a second-hand appliance store owner.

Par for the course.

That was the critique. With the exception of the good journalism that bookended the story arc — which is, of course, representative of the fact that there are still newspaper folk in Baltimore and elsewhere struggling mightily to do the job — the season amounted to ten hours of a newspaper that is no longer intimately aware of its city.”


About Amanda

I'm a senior at American University majoring in Broadcast Journalism with minors in Marketing and Multimedia Art. I am an avid sports fan and have worked for the Washington Wizards/Mystics, ESPN 980 Radio, the Lexington Legends, iHigh.com and as a sports reporter for a local Washington, D.C. newspaper. I look to pursue a career in Sports Journalism production for both television and the web.


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