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Liberal Fascism for the News Business

Worst idea of the week, via Romenesko: A “News Corps” modeled on Teach for America and — I kid you not — the WPA. You want to know why old-line journalism is dead/dying, read this guy. Just read the way he writes and tell me if you’d sign his paycheck.

Just for starters, let’s think of it as News Corps. Yes, it’s a bit close to News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s global empire, but maybe he’ll support it. It borrows some almost-ancient WPA sensibility, and focuses on storytelling, but journalistic storytelling. It is this amazing set of storytelling tools — the wonders of audio and video and text, of blogging style, of instant reader connection and involvement — that define what should be an optimistic time, not a time of mourning. Never before have journalists had such a set of tools arrayed before them.

The News Corps notion, of course, would be just a piece of the puzzle. Beyond training and empowering a new generation of newsies, we’ll need new ecosystems of training and mentoring and of distribution and aggregation. We can see the outlines of those already, though they hardly fully formed.

New ecosystems! An amazing set of storytelling tools! The wonders of audio and video! And text! Tools that have only been available to journalists since the invention of television, when Howdy Doody invited us to follow the bouncing ball and sing along! Good Lord, these dinosaurs fill me with despair. This cat, Ken Doctor, was vice president for strategy at Knight Ridder (RIP). Imagine the memos, and abandon hope.

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