Cronkite, authority and journalism today

July 19, 2009

As most everyone knows by now, Walter Cronkite, 92, died Friday. He was well before my time, but is a good example of the bygone days of journalism. I’d like to share an interesting Associated Press essay by Ted Anthony on Cronkite and how my profession has changed today–from an almost monolithic “authority” to fragmentation due to new media.

An excerpt:

No one person can speak for us all — we don’t even pretend that’s the case anymore — and those who tried would be put in their places as fast as you can say Edward R. Murrow.

That can be a glorious expression of democracy, or it can lead, as it did Saturday morning, to the most e-mailed story on Yahoo! News being the one about the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile crashing into a house in Wisconsin. Democracy has a way of being quite democratic.

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