The newspaper industry, which is already on life-support, was dealt yet another blow Sunday at the Academy Awards when The Post did not win best picture of the year. This has nothing to do with advertising, or margins, or how the Internet has changed the way we get our news. It’s deeper; much deeper. And as someone who has had the privilege of being in the news business for almost four decades, I fear where this is taking us.
The Post is a movie about how The Washington Post tried to report classified documents from the U.S. government on the country’s involvement in the Viet Nam war. Much like All The President’s Men, which chronicles the Watergate scandal, The Post boldly reminds us the need to have trusted, talented journalists to uncover what needs to be told.
If The Post had, indeed, won the Oscar Sunday night, it would have given newspapers a moral victory. A beacon, too, would shine and try to resurrect the crumbling state of credible news sources, which have been a direct result of the internet, and social media. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: anyone holding a cell phone can be a reporter … but, do they know what news really is?
Your call. But from where I sit, the Academy Awards had a brilliant opportunity to write a most profound script to bring the news business back where it should be. Instead, they didn’t … and that, in itself, is a sad ending.