Last week I saw the really enjoyable documentary Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times. The film focuses heavily on the changing media landscape, where news aggregators are king and content creators like the Times are struggling. Many think that the death of old media, and the actual reporting they do, is a blessing. Somehow, these folks think, Twitter will fill the void of informed, intelligent reporters with boots on the ground.
Last night the New York Times did something that shows the amazing power of a well-tuned newsroom; in the course of a few hours they completely changed the prepared front page to reflect the death of Osama bin Laden (see the side by side different page ones above). And they didn’t do it by just collecting the work of others; dozens of journalists busted their asses to do good, in-depth, contextualized, informational reporting. Which sites like The Huffington Post will just steal for themselves.
This is why we need real journalism in the world. Collecting stories off Twitter can be interesting or funny (I did it last night with The Rock), but it’s not reporting. It costs money to do real reporting, where journalists speak to sources, visit locations, do investigations, and that’s why I’m happy to support the New York Times with my money. And why I don’t visit The Huffington Post ever.