It’s hard to miss the carping and hand-wringing about the sad state of journalism in America. Most of that comes from journalists, of course…to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, we’re not complainers, we’re just trained that way.
Some complaints—most of mine—are about the quality of what’s published and broadcast; a lot are warnings about the Internet killing newspapers or cheapening the product. But I’m not going to blame the delivery boy for what’s in the paper: for evidence that the Web does not necessarily equal poor journalism take a look at The Texas Tribune, and read the Columbia Journalism Review’s piece on how TT has done nearing its first anniversary.
The thing that makes journalism worthwhile is and will be the story, presented by a trustworthy source in an appealing way. Newspapers and radio and television and the Internet (and other things we don’t know about yet) are means of delivering the story to the reader/listener/viewer. Each has its advantages and limitations, but none are inherently incapable of doing good journalism.
Too early yet to say if The Texas Tribune is a success, but it looks to be on the right track. Rather than trying to compete with local news sources or be all things to all people, it’s staked out a territory and hasn’t strayed. It’s well written. It has a sense of humor. It’s even made some money along the way. It’s worth bookmarking and checking in on from time to time.