Those who work for what today pass as newspapers often deserve the criticism directed at them for their lack of objectivity, sloppy reporting, and elitism. Having long abandoned the singular mission of informing their readers so that they may be able to make informed decisions about complex issues, these papers have degenerated into nothing more than corporate profit centers and lapdogs for many special interest groups.
In all fairness, however, it must be said that the greed and pandering may not be the only forces at work within the industry. Perhaps a once noble industry is only responding to our growing demand to be entertained rather than informed. How else can we explain the proliferation of vacuous television "news magazines," talk shows, celebrity interviews, and anything else that requires little or no intellectual effort?
There was a time when accurate, straightforward news was the norm, grammar was emphasized, and reporters were all too willing to make that "one last call." I was reminded of all that once again—of how good it was, how exciting it was—when I joined former colleagues at the 17th annual Chicago Daily News reunion held in June at Chicago's legendary Billy Goat Tavern & Grill.
A dimly lit place on lower Michigan Avenue that reeks of cooking grease and beer, the Goat once was a favorite gathering place for the legends of Chicago journalism, and...