Earlier today, Scott linked to Hugh Hewitt’s outstanding Weekly Standard piece on the Columbia School of Journalism. The estimable journalist Nicholas Lemann is now running CSJ, and is trying to teach a new generation of journalists what he calls “power skills.” By this he means the capacity to discover and analyze data through sophisticated research and analytical skills. Hugh is sympathetic to the project, but doesn’t believe it can save the MSM.
Mark Tapscott, a news room veteran now at the Heritage Foundation, agrees. Mark thinks the problem is not that journalists lack analytical skills, but that they are too intellectually lazy to look beyond the conventional liberal wisdom and apply them. Hugh, if I read him correctly, thinks it doesn’t matter whether journalists learn these skills and apply them because professionals who can apply them more capably now have direct access to the public. There is, in Hugh’s words, “too much expertise, all of it almost instantly available now, for the traditional idea of journalism to last much longer.”
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