The Wire 52: The Shrinking Newshole

I don't want to say too much yet, but I get the feeling that we have Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair, Janet Cooke etc situation coming along soon in the Baltimore Sun newsroom with Templeton...

But, what I found more interesting in this episode was the editorial meeting about how education and the disconnect between reporters and the realities of the world. The executive editor, James C. Whiting III (who I already hate because he reminds me of a former editor I had), explains that while he wants to cover how education has failed Baltimore's children, he doesn't want to bog down the reading audience with too many facts like economics, family instability and of course drugs. Anyone who has watched last season knows that clearly these are problems that affect the educational system.

Unfortunately, Gus, the only voice of reason at the meeting who supported this reasoning to talk about these issues in-depth was shut down by Whiting's logic that he knows what's really going on because "his wife volunteers in inner city schools."

Whiting is partially right; the readership's demands have changed drastically over the years. In today's 24-hour cable news culture, most Americans want to know what is going on in a paragraph. Long gone are the days of investigative reporting and in-depth analysis. In addition, newspapers are practically run by corporate interests now; and editors can only work with the newshole, or space leftover after the advertisments are placed, for articles. It's very unfortunate, but that is how it is.

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