TWO ARTICLES: THE FALL OF THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER / FUTURE OF JOURNALISM

by Miryam Muller in


The Los Angeles Review of Books looks at Sam Zell’s editorial bankrupting of The LA Times through two economic tsunamis.

Sam Zell, having made hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate, was busy finding ingenious new ways to avoid taxes. He was at the right place at the right time: regulations were falling away like leaves in autumn. He began acquiring companies that had recently emerged from bankruptcy. Using an accounting loophole called “tax-loss carry-forward,” he could dodge taxes for years on these companies. (This was preferable to rigging real estate transactions through a bank in the Bahamas, a move that almost landed Zell in jail in 1977. He avoided prison by testifying against one of his lawyers, who also happened to be his brother-in-law, and who subsequently served two years for tax evasion.)

Columbia Journalism Review takes a very lengthy (but totally worthwhile) look at the past/present/future and Future Of News (FON), namely the difference between journalism and crowd-sourced information.

What Would Google Do? is almost a caricature of network theory, hailing the search company and Internet culture as ushering in new forms of capitalism and society… This kind of rhetoric reminds us that, when it comes to the future of news, we’re dealing with an issue that is defined by its uncertainty and does not—to say the least—lend itself to empirical analysis. Journalists like facts, data. Here, there aren’t any. We’re in the realm of beliefs (see confidence factor, above).