Pared-down news teams

The majority of Americans get most of their news from television, either from the traditional networks or their newer cable rivals like CNN and MSNBC. Most people have seen pictures of the busy newsrooms from which the stories are coming, but according to a report in today’s N.Y. Times, the news bureaus in many cities here and abroad are shrinking rapidly. News bureaus that have been maintained with reporters, photographers, and editors are turning into one-person operations. A single (very busy) reporter gathers the news, takes whatever photos are needed, and sends stories back to headquarters. Is this just a way to save money, or will it give more flexible news coverage? That’s what viewers will have to judge. Important stories in distant places like this week’s news from Georgia may become even more difficult to cover. There are fewer reporters in Moscow or anywhere else in Russia, so people have to be flown in from other European cities. The learning curve must be dramatic. It is no wonder that bloggers who are on the scene and know the area thoroughly are more and more often taking over the role that reporters used to play. Journalism is in flux and anyone interested in keeping up with events will be watching to see how it develops and hoping it will continue to serve the public’s need to know.

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