As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Tuesday, August 4

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


The Mechanics
« Oh, Burris Meet Amy, Your Employee »

Chicago Tue May 26 2009

Why Does Media Matter?

iFC-8022I recently had the opportunity to go to a town hall meeting hosted by the Independent Film Channel (IFC) and listen to a panel of prominent journalists (pictured left, photo from IFC) discuss why media matters. The town hall meeting is part of IFC's pro-social initiative "Make Media Matter" which raises awareness about the vital role media plays in our lives, society and world.

In the wake of the economic crisis and political unraveling in Chicago, media is more important than ever. As Attorney General Lisa Madigan boldly stated in her introduction to the panel, "media makes democracy work; without it, who would hold the government accountable for their actions?"

Over the past couple of years, the way we absorb our news has drastically changed, and will continue to do so. Today, many people read their news online, newspapers are cutting staff and other media are beginning to consolidate their resources. When the panel was asked what they think of the changes Carl Bernstein, known for breaking the Watergate story for The Washington Post, said (and other panelists agreed) that he is less concerned with the format and delivery of the news than with conserving the standards of American journalism.

As newsrooms continue to shrink, the need for great American journalism is greater than ever in Chicago. Without it, Madigan says, "it's too easy for the government to dodge the public and there is too much secrecy. Transparency is the foundation for any effective government reform."

Gerould Kern, editor of the Chicago Tribune, went on to say that "disruptive change sweeps across all human institutions at some point and we have to adapt. We have to be public advocates and hold those in power accountable." Panelists unanimously agreed that while more and more content is moving online, newspapers aren't going anywhere anytime soon and the most important thing is that the news gets delivered - regardless of the medium.

It's refreshing to hear, in the middle of so much transition, that when it comes down to it, what's really important is good reporting and, as Bernstein said, "finding the most obtainable version of the truth."

It's impossible to define why media matters to all people. Some people are looking for hard news, some people are interested in commentary and some people are looking for celebrity gossip. Whatever it is, there's a place for all media outlets - newspapers, blogs, radio, television, Twitter, etc.

So you tell us, why does media matter to you?

 
GB store

Good Luck / May 27, 2009 1:12 PM

Why yes, imagine how democracy would have been served if the LA Times had released the videotape of Barack Obama attending an anti-semetic conference. Or how democracy would be served if the New York Times chose not quash a story detailing how the Obama campaign illegally worked hand in hand with ACORN on campaign donation lists (in violation of campaign finance law)...

It goes both ways. Transparency is worthless if there is some arbitrary decider of what is allowed to see the light of day.

The hurried decline of the king/myth-making side of media has been enjoyable.

With the economic crisis, journalists generally have no grasp of economics, so I can't agree that having a group of laypeople trying to pass themselves off as credible sources is a worthwhile venture.

GB store

Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store



About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
Mechanics staff inbox: mechanics@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15