Michael Oreskes on the danger of journalistic suicide


Journalists are in danger of committing professional suicide if they abandon core values in an effort to keep from dying, the executive editor of the International Herald Tribune has told a Toronto convention. Michael Oreskes was keynote speaker on Fri., Oct. 19, at the annual meeting of the Online News Association, which drew about 550 journalists. (Listen to the audio stream by clicking on the carat below, or download an MP3 PODCAST)


Oreskes said journalism should be the antidote for information overload, providing audiences with orientation, as journalists shed their gatekeeper role. Journalists now have a responsibility to complete the mission of finding business models which sustain watchdog journalism, he told the audience, citing research (PPT) by London School of Economics Prof. Tim Besley showing that as press freedom goes up, so does national income and nation's with a free press are "cleaner, and wealthier." In addition, said Oreskes, online journalists need to push not only to create "vertical" information resources (which garner advertising), but also "horizontal" applications of the Internet which foster a broad view of civic issues.

Oreskes became executive editor of the International Herald Tribune in May 2005. Previously, Mr. Oreskes was deputy managing editor of The New York Times since November 2004. In that role, he oversaw The Times Web and television content. In his talk, he showed two slides of research by Prof. Timothy J. Besley of the London School of Economics. Besley's latest book: (LINK) . . . and here is a link to Oreskes' latest book, The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country--and Why it Can Again, co-authored with Eric Lane, a Hofstra University law professor.