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It's no secret: we're afflicted by bad reporting because publishers and broadcasters are cheap. Reliable journalism (if you need a definition, see "The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide") costs money, lots of it, and owners don't want to pay for it.

The largest newspapers are still doing a decent job of reporting, but the rest merely reprint AP stories, news releases, and police bulletins. And local TV news programs fill much of the hour reporting not newsworthy events, but user-generated video of those events, and Tweets about the video. Yikes.

Our present situation is due to the disappearance of monolithic broadcast audiences for TV, and of the classifieds from newspapers. Only large injections of cash into publishing and broadcasting businesses—and the emergence of audiences willing to pay for truth and understanding—can restore reliable journalism. Journalists alone can't do it.

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