When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism

 

By Franklin Foer : theatlantic –  excerpt

The pursuit of digital readership broke the New Republic—and an entire industry.

Chris Hughes was a mythical savior—boyishly innocent, fantastically rich, intellectually curious, unexpectedly humble, and proudly idealistic.

My entire career at the New Republic had been spent dreaming of such a benefactor. For years, my colleagues and I had sputtered our way through the internet era, drifting from one ownership group to the next, each eager to save the magazine and its historic mission as the intellectual organ for hard-nosed liberalism. But these investors either lacked the resources to invest in our future or didn’t have quite enough faith to fully commit. The unending search for patronage exhausted me, and in 2010, I resigned as editor…

Over the past generation, journalism has been slowly swallowed. The ascendant media companies of our era don’t think of themselves as heirs to a great ink-stained tradition. Some like to compare themselves to technology firms. This redefinition isn’t just a bit of fashionable branding. As Silicon Valley has infiltrated the profession, journalism has come to unhealthily depend on the big tech companies, which now supply journalism with an enormous percentage of its audience—and, therefore, a big chunk of its revenue… (more)

A completely different view of the world, based on future expectations of where technology will take us, is unveiled as a major funding partner of Facebook pours his wealth into The New Republic. Having been interviewed by The Atlantic, I can speak from experience on how that movement feels. Both extremes, living in the past and living in the future are not getting most of us anywhere other than longing for a clear presence in the presence that is lacking in both.

 

 

 

Artist Activist Quandry

This letter is dedicated to all those artists, historians, and humanitarians who find themselves in this quandary of deciding what is important and what is not. I certainly do not have the answer. I do not believe there is one, only questions about the role history plays in the life of our planet  Earth.

Does preserving material artifacts and records of our historical achievements and failures have a lasting effect on the living? How important is it to preserve our art and historical and cultural history? Is it worth losing a life over? Many lives? Like I said, this is not an easy question to ask and impossible to answer, but, if we do take a moment to think about it, it may help us get past our own limited abilities long enough to feel we have a path forward that make sense because we took some time to think about our actions and our reasons to care.

Let us start at the beginning, or the beginning of history as we know it. How do we know it? We look at the ancient material things that were left by earlier civilizations and we ascertain much about how they lived on this earth. But, we do not actually experience any of these physical realities. We rely on “expert” humans who claim to know what the bones of dinosaurs mean. We rely on scientists to explain would they suspect happened when observe the remains of these civilizations and the physical pieces of what is left to indicate they existed. Few of us will ever see any of these articles in person or visit the ancient world and if we do we are not “educated” to understand what we are looking at…

Continue reading “Artist Activist Quandry”