New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen is hardly the only critic alleging timidity and false balance on the part of public media journalists. But his most cutting criticism is a much simpler allegation: lazy reporting.
Whether it’s individual or institutional laziness, Rosen says he is frustrated by how often NPR reporters in particular seem to throw up their hands and cover controversies without trying to discover which side is right (which he argues is not the same as arbitrating who is right).
Rosen is famous for applying the paradoxical phrase “the view from nowhere” to the conventionally impartial journalism that he feels NPR epitomizes. Nonetheless, he told me on The Pub that he is “a total fan of public radio” — more a “loyal critic” than the peanut-gallery bomb-thrower that some in public media might perceive him to be.
“I understand that people who work in the system get frustrated with me and think I don’t know what I’m talking about, and a lot of times I don’t. I’m just a listener who’s pissed off,” he said with a chuckle.
Also on this week’s episode, I argue that the podcasting industry is becoming dangerously concentrated in New York, and that public media in particular has a responsibility to shift or disperse the city’s on-demand–audio gravity well before it collapses into a black hole.
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.