Considering all the hysteria that transformed Critical Mass in mere months into one of the most laughable blogs professing to concern itself with books, I must nevertheless commend the NBCC for offering Kansas City Star books editor John Mark Eberhart’s thoughtful and quasi-contrarian post, which offers the most plain and humble argument on the situation so far. In self-effacing words devoid of the off-putting and humorless self-importance seen before, Eberhart observes that the hue and cry to save books coverage may very well be encouraging top tier editors to initiate the death knell. As Eberhart puts it:
And I just hope the NBCC is successful in making things better. I have to ask, though: Did the campaign change any minds, really, in Atlanta?
Things change. Societies evolve. The Internet is not going away, barring some catastrophic event (I’m trying not to grin right now; I confess I sometimes have a rather twisted imagination). And as things change, journalism reflects those changes. There is an old, old tension in this business: Are we supposed to be a catalyst for what is “right,” or are we supposed to be a mirror or reflecting pool, showing society its true nature?
I certainly hope Eberhart’s realistic considerations of what is now happening in media and his call for sanity initiates a more constructive conversation for this very important issue.
© 2007, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.