What's Happening to the News?

The news business seems to be exploding and imploding simultaneously. While cable TV, talk radio, and the Web keep up a 24/7 barrage of information and opinion, the old warhorses of journalism--newspapers and the major networks--are getting wobbly. Presumably, reporters and editors still play an essential role in American democracy. But they're beset by trends ranging from corporate consolidation and newsroom layoffs, to altered reading habits, to the vogue of blogs and podcasts, to the intrusion of celebrity gossip into the traditional news realm.

What's happening here? Is it good or bad? Where is it taking us? A number of Kenyon alumni grapple with these questions every day, as reporters, editors, and producers, in news organizations ranging from small-town papers to media giants. We asked a few of them to reflect on the shifting landscape they see around them.

Only Game in Town

Writing for a small paper can be rewarding, except when you have to switch supermarket aisles to avoid an angry school board member

Gates Wide Open

With the Web giving people unlimited access to information, journalists are no longer gatekeepers, but they can still serve as good editors.

Push and Pull

Can shows like Dateline balance good journalism and an appetite for the salacious?

All Media Considered

Web news, songs, podcasts--National Public Radio is riding more than the radio waves


The nation's biggest newspaper chain now "publishes" on cell phones, PDAs, the Web, even on elevators. Is there a future for newsprint in the newspaper?

Bloggers at the Table?

Downsizing and the departure of veteran reporters hurt news coverage at the state level, where the laws affect our daily lives. But can the Internet fill the gap?

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