Ryan, once you’ve taught journalism students, the results you describe are not surprising.
When genuine journalism was in its heyday, real thinkers and writers prospered in the profession. I have in mind Mencken, Walter Trohan, and Arthur Krock. Those days are simply over. As journalism has given way to entertainment, college students studying to enter the field have demanded in classrooms across America that they be entertained rather than educated. My friends who teach them gather regularly at the local saloon and share their hilarious stories about the profound ignorance that prevails among the students they have to deal with every day.
In my experience, true journalism has also given way to thoroughgoing laziness. Not only are these people far from “the best and the brightest,” they also have come to rely almost solely on leaks. Not so the likes of Trohan and Krock. If you read their memoirs, you will find there a solid grasp of both the language and the subject matter.
In many cases, the real journalists also used to be among the best analytical minds addressing the issues. Anyone attempting to observe those qualities in today’s journalists would simply bring on peals of laughter. In fact, we see daily the best (or at least the most successful) in the profession bailing out of their failing industries and joining the wave of the future on the Internet.9:50 am on May 20, 2009 Email Christopher Manion