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Stony Brook Prof Stresses Value of Old-School Journalism

JonFriedmanStonyBrookPicJon Friedman‘s latest Marketwatch column is a good one. In framing what he thinks it still takes to be a good journalist, he laments the fact that many of his Stony Brook journalism students are fixated on the glittery sheen of the boob tube:

When I asked my students last semester what they hoped to do in their careers, the majority said they wanted to be on television. (The most honest of them declared they wanted to be TV stars, not so much for the big bucks but since it just seemed so darned cool to be on TV!) None of them said he or she hoped to be a link in the chain to the late, great Edward R. Murrow. (Who?)

It’s not my students’ fault that TV news today has taken on the mentality of the fabulous 1976 film Network (a movie most of them had never heard of, much less seen). It’s all about flash and pizzazz. News and entertainment are so blurred that it’s hard to tell them apart.

In this week of nikkistink.com, we’d be remiss to not revisit some 2006 old-school efforts by the professor; at that time, Friedman got to sit down with Nikki Finke over dinner in Santa Monica. After flying in from New York.

The resulting Marketwatch piece made Finke mad as hell, with the then-LA Weekly doyenne dismissing the profile as misogynistic, trivializing and – in the case of a remark about Frances Farmer – inaccurate. Still, eight years later, Finke would likely agree with Friedman’s preaching that hard work and traditional journalism values anchor the profession’s most long-lasting contributions.

[Photo of Friedman via: stonybrook.edu]

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