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Remarks From Edwin DiamondIn the fourth round of the Political Exchange, the participants responded to questions selected by PoliticsNow Classroom's academic editor Melvin Dubnick.
By Edwin Diamond
The citation from Camus gives me one more reason to admire that courageous giant of 20th century literature. I didn't know that he actually suggested a regular media criticism forum. Unknown to many of us, we've been practicing a Camus kind of truth squad work for years, in my case, in weekly and monthly columns, in magazine articles, in online posts, and in books.
I've often thought of my role as akin to a sanitation worker's job after the Barnum` Bailey circus parade has marched down Fifth Avenue on its way to Madison Square Garden: there are the clowns, aerialists, the crowds, the horses and especially, the elephants. With our shovels and brooms, we press critics clean up after the media parade.
And speaking of P.T Barnum, the "civic" or "public" journalism movement demonstrates his truth, that a sucker is born every minute. The foundation-supported proponents of this market research/focus group-driven stuff can't seem to make up their minds what to call it. I think of it as public relations journalism. In this hollowed Classroom, I'd like to stay temperate on the subject. But I have posted a more detailed, less circumspect analysis of public relations journalism--calling a scam a scam--on our study group's home page.
Finally, the Internet. I thought you'd never ask. Having spent a year in cyberspace covering the '96 campaign, I do have some hunches about the future of 'net journalism. It's here to stay and grow. In my book, White House To Your House: Media And Politics In Virtual America, we devote a whole new epilogue to digital journalism .
Briefly, I make the distinction between the 'net as a major addition to the research/reporting strengths of working journalists, writers and scholars and the 'net as social hangout and leisure-time activity. That is, there's a 'net for work, and there's a 'net for play. No one can do journalism or serious writing without using this new tool. The 'net also is an exciting beat that can be covered and written about.
But the 'net for chatting, making out, joining fan clubs, ranting and rocking? Hey, it's a free country. Men behaving boyishly in chat rooms isn't going to put any news-gathering organization out of business, except for maybe the loss of revenues from Personal ads.