Will’s formula for dynamite

Will Bunch, columnist, visionary, and rabblerouser in Philadelphia, has written a book, The News Fix, with his vision for the future of newspapers — or rather, to assure that there is a future.

The book is my heartfelt, yet occasionally snarky, plea for a new way to cover the news in the 21st Century, for saving news organizations — “norgs,” I suggest calling them — like the Daily News by reinventing them, with newfangled digital tools and an old-fashioned bond with readers, especially citizen journalists. There’s a lot in there about what’s wrong with today’s media — the cult of objectivty that makes newspapers both boring AND easy to manipulate, and reporters bonding with the powerful folks we cover instead of the communities where we live.

But the main message is hope for the future, in the new kind of investigative reporting that’s now being pioneered on blogs like Talking Points Memo, in harnessing the power of the Web, and in the possibility for new alliances between digital rabble rousers and ink-stained wretches (like me).

  • It’s interesting that he is placing such hope in “the new kind of investigative reporting that’s now being pioneered on blogs like Talking Points Memo (TPM).” This type of reporting requires a level of funding that will be unavailable in an online commercial environment in which few users will pay subscription fees, and where it will be much more cost-efficient to get this info from whistleblowers than reporter-investigators. I suspect that to find the type of investigative reporting he is hoping for, we’ll have to visit web sites that have some kind of axe to grind (partisan, think tanks, etc.) backed financially by those who share a view or self-interest. Moveon.org and Newsbusters come to mind. Personally, I’d also put TPM in the category of a partisan web site, and it would not surprise me if we learned that it is backed by partisan money.

  • I can handle the drive-by Al Gore muggings and the ‘Is Barak Black enough?’ debacle (it may be removed from the site, but it lives on in RSS).

    But being required to watch obnoxious animated RSS banner ads in support of this nonsense tests my patience too much.

    Enough. My next act will be to terminate my RSS subscription. I’m out of here.