An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Attention Span

There is an interesting thread at Loyal Opposition on journalism in light of a recent story on Ehrlich and Bush's style versus substance approach to politics.

One of the arguments that the newspapers make these days is that few people read in depth and that papers are thereby justified in moving toward a USA Today-style format that emphasizes pretty pictures, bright graphics, and easy-to-read, short articles. If you read most daily papers in mid-sized cities you'll find that many editors agree that we are just not reading. As businesses, one can hardly blame them for catering to their customers.

Solid journalism and in particular, strong investigative reporting, does exist, though. In particular, a set of investigative pieces last year in the LA Times went into detail on influence and opportunities available to the children of Members of Congress, focusing on Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).

These, and pieces like them in publications like the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, and the NY Times, among others, are hard-hitting and in-depth. The question is, do we read them?