May 7, 2008

Ethics in the age of declining circulation

Market Watch surveyed a number of media mainstays to weigh in on the state of journalism ethics in the five years since the Jayson Blair scandal knee-capped the New York Times. Here's what New Yorker media critic Ken Auletta had to say:

"I suspect that serious felons like Blair have been deterred. But cheating and cutting corners has not been. Declining circulation, falling advertising revenues, and the swooning stock value of traditional news organizations, coupled with expanding consumer choices, prompts slashed newsroom budgets.

"This leaves fewer editors and fact checkers to police newsrooms. Worse, with business declining, the folks who sign our checks push for more sensational stories, more conflict, more sharp opinion -- anything -- to lift their news stories from the clutter. The business culture imposes itself on the journalistic culture. In the contest between the two cultures, business usually triumphs," Auletta wrote.

(via Romenesko)

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