We know the mainstream media is sick, but it doesn’t have to die, writes Frank Rich in the New York Times. When television appeared, people worried it would eat movies, Broadway, and radio; all these forms still exist, having “learned to adapt and to collaborate with the monster.” As “an essential part of a functioning democracy,” expert journalism must survive, too—and that means paying for it.
Sure, the Internet is rife with opinion pieces, but they’re “cheap” to make and based on good old-fashioned reporting. Investigative, hard-hitting journalism, on the other hand—the kind that told us about wiretapping and Enron—“can be expensive,” and takes expert reporters who “have to eat and pay rent.” “It’s immaterial whether we find the fruits of their labors on paper, a laptop screen, a BlackBerry, a Kindle, or podcast. But someone must pay for this content,” Rich writes.