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Missing From the Blog Debate: The Hidden Costs of News Bureaus

United_nationsReal journalism, IMHO, requires ongoing perspective that only comes from an investment of time and money. It's easy to blog a story that's plastered all over Google News; yet another to provide some real insight. Case in point: American Journalism Review reports that there are only two full-time news reporters in Afghanistan, yesterday's Iraq.

By the way, those two news organizations are Newsweek and the Washington Post.

Media marketplaces, bloggers included, should consider the costs of ongoing coverage into account when they're putting their budgets together. Mostly missing from the blog debate are the hidden costs of adopting a different kind of journalism. (Jill Abramson of the New York Times and Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com are two of the exceptions.)

World aid flows to wherever the spotlight is shining. Six years ago we pledged to do whatever it takes to aid Honduras, nearly wiped off the map by Hurricane Mitch. Last year we looked at Bam, Iran with fresh eyes after a quake killed 40,000 and left many more homeless. When I read what is happening today in those areas, it's hard to look at today's tsunami relief efforts the same way.

I don't deny that people are serious when they contribute to the aid effort. If you really, really care about the poor souls in southeast Asia, I hope they remain in your thoughts and prayers in a year. If history is any indication, that's when they're really going to need your help.


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