Exciting Times in American Journalism One news junkie who's been around says mergers in old and new media are reinvigorating the profession -- and audiences. America's media machine raced into high gear today, as soon as British officials announced that they had broken up an alleged terrorist plot. Breaking news, speculating on the news, debating the news, dissecting the news. Crisis and tragedy inspire the best -- and worst -- in American journalism. And from what one of our esteemed colleagues tells us, we can feel optimistic that the nation's media will generally do a good job with this story.
NPR logo Exciting Times in American Journalism

Exciting Times in American Journalism

One news junkie who's been around says mergers in old and new media are reinvigorating the profession -- and audiences.

America's media machine raced into high gear today, as soon as British officials announced that they had broken up an alleged terrorist plot. Breaking news, speculating on the news, debating the news, dissecting the news. Crisis and tragedy inspire the best -- and worst -- in American journalism.

And from what one of our esteemed colleagues tells us, we can feel optimistic that the nation's media will generally do a good job with this story.

You might not know Geneva Overholser, but she's pretty much a household name in our profession. Used to edit the Des Moines Register, helped set editorial policy at the New York Times, became ombudsperson for the Washington Post, etc.

Geneva says she was feeling heartsick in recent years as she watched profit-driven executives take over the news business and start squeezing the integrity out of it. But lately she's seeing signs that things are turning around.

In fact, "In my 35 years in journalism," Geneva tells us, "I've never seen a more interesting time in journalism. After years of decline and lament, possibilities are exploding all over the place. Sure, this makes for messy terrain -- but also promising terrain!" She continues:

I think things got so bad in profit-pressured, innovation-resistant traditional media companies that we reached (finally!) a tipping point. Now both old and new media are moving forward in interesting and productive ways. I'm heartened by it.

Read the full letter after the jump...