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July 2, 2009 / Toby Dayton

The Dumbing of America…

One of the most compelling and critically important side stories (or maybe it is THE story and the business stuff is secondary) related to the death of the daily newspaper is the impact on our communities, our society, and our democracy. There are a wide range of opinions about what will happen to the vacuum being created as newspapers implode and disappear, or at a very minimum, become far less able to afford true journalism. I subscribe to the belief that the concern is extremely justified, but that successful alternatives are already emerging and will continue to do so at an accelarting pace. In any event, Doonesbury has a great arc this week on the dumbing of America and the panel below even connects to the death of newspapers….very amusing but horrifying as well.

doonesbury

5 Comments

  1. Nick / Jul 7 2009 2:51 pm

    I find it hard to make the connection between the dumbing of America, and the death of the daily newspapers. If anything information is even more accessible…somehow we’re dumber because we don’t have a folded piece of paper to pick up and read???

    • Toby Dayton / Jul 8 2009 3:50 pm

      There is little doubt that the web and mobile technology has vastly increased people’s access to news, and statistics prove that people’s interest in news has grown considerably in the past decade. But unlike a newspaper where people browse through lots of headlines and lots of content, all with some measure of objectivity (perhaps arguable for some, but certainly more objective than most online news sources today), most sites today are severely slanted either right or left and the content, views, and opinions are highly biased and partisan. Even worse, most online ‘news’ sources today (other than the reputable ones) are not in any way, shape, or form engaging in journalism using the true definition of the word or delivering ‘news’ beyond simply regurgitating or spinning news obtained from other sources.

      The dumbing of America has far deeper causes than the decline of the daily newspaper, but the fact that the average newspaper reader is 56 and that most people under the age of 35 haven’t read a newspaper this week is a further sign of how America is falling futher and further behind other industrialized nations. More people in their 20’s in the U.S. get their daily news from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart than they do from a daily newspaper. Our public school system is in shambles on virtually every front, and the U.S. children (especially high school kids) consistently rank near or at the bottom of industrialized nations. Again, the death of the daily newspaper may not be the primary cause of the dumbing of America, but it certainly hasn’t helped…

  2. Nick / Jul 7 2009 9:51 am

    I find it hard to make the connection between the dumbing of America, and the death of the daily newspapers. If anything information is even more accessible…somehow we're dumber because we don't have a folded piece of paper to pick up and read???

    • Toby Dayton / Jul 8 2009 10:50 am

      There is little doubt that the web and mobile technology has vastly increased people's access to news, and statistics prove that people's interest in news has grown considerably in the past decade. But unlike a newspaper where people browse through lots of headlines and lots of content, all with some measure of objectivity (perhaps arguable for some, but certainly more objective than most online news sources today), most sites today are severely slanted either right or left and the content, views, and opinions are highly biased and partisan. Even worse, most online 'news' sources today (other than the reputable ones) are not in any way, shape, or form engaging in journalism using the true definition of the word or delivering 'news' beyond simply regurgitating or spinning news obtained from other sources.

      The dumbing of America has far deeper causes than the decline of the daily newspaper, but the fact that the average newspaper reader is 56 and that most people under the age of 35 haven't read a newspaper this week is a further sign of how America is falling futher and further behind other industrialized nations. More people in their 20's in the U.S. get their daily news from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart than they do from a daily newspaper. Our public school system is in shambles on virtually every front, and the U.S. children (especially high school kids) consistently rank near or at the bottom of industrialized nations. Again, the death of the daily newspaper may not be the primary cause of the dumbing of America, but it certainly hasn't helped…

  3. Toby Dayton / Jul 8 2009 3:50 pm

    There is little doubt that the web and mobile technology has vastly increased people's access to news, and statistics prove that people's interest in news has grown considerably in the past decade. But unlike a newspaper where people browse through lots of headlines and lots of content, all with some measure of objectivity (perhaps arguable for some, but certainly more objective than most online news sources today), most sites today are severely slanted either right or left and the content, views, and opinions are highly biased and partisan. Even worse, most online 'news' sources today (other than the reputable ones) are not in any way, shape, or form engaging in journalism using the true definition of the word or delivering 'news' beyond simply regurgitating or spinning news obtained from other sources.

    The dumbing of America has far deeper causes than the decline of the daily newspaper, but the fact that the average newspaper reader is 56 and that most people under the age of 35 haven't read a newspaper this week is a further sign of how America is falling futher and further behind other industrialized nations. More people in their 20's in the U.S. get their daily news from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart than they do from a daily newspaper. Our public school system is in shambles on virtually every front, and the U.S. children (especially high school kids) consistently rank near or at the bottom of industrialized nations. Again, the death of the daily newspaper may not be the primary cause of the dumbing of America, but it certainly hasn't helped…

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