The Wire concludes its 4th season this weekend. Next year’s fifth and final season will focus on what’s messed up with journalism– well, at least some of it. Series creator David Simon, a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun, explains his rationale in an interview with Slate:
What are we paying attention to? What are we telling ourselves about ourselves? A lot of people think that we’re going to impale journalists. No. It’s not quite that. What stories do we want to hear? How closely do they relate to truth; how distant are they from the truth? We have a story idea about media and consumers of media. What stories get told and what don’t and why it is that things stay the same.
What’s happened to the Baltimore Sun locally is what has happened to that whole second tier of journalism—below the New York Times and the Washington Post: They’re being eviscerated by price per share. There used to be 500 reporters; now there are 300. They keep telling us they can do the same job, they just need to be more effective. Bullshit. Five hundred reporters is 500; 300 is 300; you can’t cover the city the same way with fewer people…The low end of journalism is not what concerns me. It’s not that sensational stuff I’m worried about. It’s that there may be no high end anymore, that the kind of thing journalists once aspired to, especially in the Washington Post-Watergate era, may no longer exist.
Is there a place for citizen journalism in Simon’s Baltimore?