Commentary on the Fourth Estate

Paul Fanlund:

One is the challenge that relates to the well-understood, decade-old “disruption” of the business models of mainstream print and electronic journalism. The internet has changed reading and viewing habits and made it harder for news organizations to afford the number of reporters, editors and other news professionals ideally required to produce the episodic and investigative coverage necessary for an informed citizenry.

The second challenge relates to the loss of public trust in the mainstream media and other American institutions — be that the New York Times, the FBI, or even, here in Wisconsin, our system of public education. The tradition of accepting the essential integrity of our institutions is waning. As a result, those who hold diametrically different views cannot talk through issues because they disagree on basic facts.

Ideally, our local media would spend substantial time on the taxpayer supported school district’s long term, disastrous reading results.

Jeremy W. Peters:

It bothers me that he doesn’t tell the truth, but I guess I kind of expect that, and I expect that from the media, too — not to always tell the truth or to slant it one way,” said Julie Knight, 63, a retired personal injury case manager from Algona, Wash.

It has been more than eight years since the Capital Times mentioned the (unrealized) possibility of an audit on the Madison School District’s maintenance spending.

Madison spends far more than most taxpayer supported school districts, now nearly $20,000 per student.