Do newspapers deserve to live? (Part II)
Yes, if they maintain the gumption and independence the San Antonio Express-News demonstrates in its coverage of a recent Al Gore speech to an architects group.
The speech, to an audience of thousands, was supposed to be closed to the media -- but the newspaper sent a reporter in under his own name without declaring himself as a journalist. We can discuss the ethics of this practice, but I'm persuaded by the argument of Express News public editor Bob Richter, who explains the paper's decision in his column.
The point is, here we have a newspaper that recognizes its role in the community and its duty to the public -- which is to share information that citizens have an interest in, even if that means annoying powerful people. The last paragraph of the news story sums it up: " On the request of Gore's media handlers, Saturday's event was closed to the media. Because of the importance of the issue and Gore's status, the San Antonio Express-News chose to cover it anyway."
This paper knows who it's working for.
Thanks, as is often the case, to Romenesko, for spotlighting these stories.