Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Looking back, and ahead, at journalism

Paul Grondahl talks about Bill Kennedy's appearance at the 40th anniversary celebration of UAlbany Journalism Program founder Bill Rowley last week:

Bill Kennedy was talking last week about his late, great friend Bill Rowley founding the University at Albany journalism program in 1973 — he was Rowley's first hire — and as the newspaperman-turned-novelist assessed the current state of journalism, his mood turned dark.

"Newsweek is gone. Time magazine is just a tattered print unit of Time Warner Cable," he said. "All the TV networks seem to have slid into the swamp of celebrity. The Times seems to be surviving, but I don't know how small papers can survive."

His talk was the centerpiece of what was billed as a 40th anniversary celebration, but as a truth-teller addressing an auditorium of professional skeptics and aspiring cynics, his forecast was stormy with a chance of extinction.

Kennedy quoted the prophecy of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, new owner of the Washington Post, who once said that newspapers as we know them will be gone in 20 years. "That does not seem unreasonable to me," Kennedy added.

More in the Times Union:

Picture: UAlbany undergraduate intern Michelle Checchi, a junior journalism major at UAlbany.