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Reinvention of Journalism and the Rebirth of Free Speech

A lot of great news people I’ve known have left the profession, some just fed up with the way things were going, some no longer regarded with favor at a time when staffs are shrinking and standards are falling.

Since I left the profession 18 months ago, I’ve met a lot of others outside my little world and I think we all share the experience one way or another: Liberation.
mcintyregasbag2.jpg
Now, many of us are free to use what we know to pursue our real dreams through unexplored territory. Our reading, listening and viewing habits are undergoing radical change so figuring out the who, what, when, where and why of news provides the opportunity to reinvent journalism.

I believe the decline of corporate control of the media has liberated America,  and hopefully, freed us to speak freely in public, make more creative choices in our lives and listen better to others.   

It is uncharted territory how the news and information revolution plays out in years to come. There will surely be hundreds of creative and entrepreneurial wizards who create great products that offer a competition for minds and hearts unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes.

My own contribution is OurLA.org — a central place on the Internet where citizens, experts, journalists, anyone can contribute what they know for the whole community.

Thanks to Valley civic leader David Fleming and many other generous people, my dream is becoming a reality with the help of a young reporter named Chelsea Cody who last year was editor of the Cal State Northridge paper.

It’s a struggle for money and, more importantly, to convince the community to actively participate and submit their news articles, opinions, photos, videos. So many people have their own personal or community websites that reach their own audiences.

OurLA is trying to create a central clearing-house so the knowledge and wisdom of the community is shared widely. We believe a better informed community is an important element in creating a healthier civic culture in LA and bring together the city’s diverse people into a common conversation.

We don’t know if we can succeed but we’re giving it all we’ve got. In their own way, so are hundreds of other former journalists across the country.

There’s not much money in it for now, except for the few, but that’s the price of living your dream.

Doug McIntyre is the latest to join our fast-growing club.

He’s among the most brilliant, knowledgeable and talented people I’ve met along my own private journey.

And more than that, Doug knows what’s really going on in the civic and political life of LA as well as anyone else in the media.

Doug entered my life when he volunteered to write a column for free when I was still editor of the Daily News. When I got fired, he put me on once a week for 4 months, which helped me launch my new life post-journalism.

McIntyre was fired last week by KABC and the company that bought the radio network at a time the entire media world was changing. Tough luck for them.

Doug has started his new life, as many of us do, with a blog: RadioGasBag.com.    Hopefully, he will be scooped up by a local station that recognizes he is an important community asset with a large following.

Facing the challenge of making a living and deciding what to do with the rest of his life is part of the normal sequence most of us have gone through when we engage these kinds of life changes.

The most talented, like Doug, suffer this more than others. What are the options? What kind of chances can one afford to take? Is there a creative opportunity?

Most people don’t take those questions seriously enough during their whole lifetimes but I believe many of us, in all walks of life, will be facing them more frequently in the years ahead.

I think the world of hyper-consumerism, America’s the richest country in the world, you can have anything you want whenever you want it, is over.

We don’t create wealth in America anymore; we consume the sources of wealth: Raw materials and manufactured goods are imported while we have become a service-based workforce.

We are borrowing to sustain our illusory lives of super-affluence and sticking a younger generation with the bills, and hope they won’t wake up from their electronic dream any time soon.

Those are just some of the ideas that run through my mind.

Doug McIntyre has better ones. So do my friends Tezozomoc and Stephen Box and hundreds of others, journalists and citizens, that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know since I was lucky enough to start down the road of Ronnie Kaye’s excellent free adventure.

As far as I can see, the times really are changing this time.


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15 Responses to Reinvention of Journalism and the Rebirth of Free Speech

  1. Chris Rowe says:

    Dear Ron,
    You are my primary source for news these days. While I try to catch the “NBC News with Brian Williams” each night at 6:30 PM, I find that that most of my time is spent on the internet. We receive so much information – not just from formal websites like yours, but from all of our friends via email – and that leads us to new sites.
    Some of us have RSS feeds or “GOOGLE ALERTS” set up – as I do for “RON KAYE” and “Measure B”. Now I have to go back and read those alerts because each of those often has more than one story.
    I thank you for a place to comment. But most importantly, I thank you for putting up OurLA where I do hope that I will continue to be a local contributor.
    Where else can we comment on what is happening in our city to a broad base of people?

  2. Charlie Baker says:

    Will Doug be moving to NY?

  3. Sandy Sand says:

    In Doug’s own words on his last broadcast day, he is NOT moving to New York.
    He said that’s a rumor and not true, but I figure that if a good offer came up in another part of the state or in another state, he could take it. People move for better jobs all the time, so I don’t put it out of the realm of possibility.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ron,
    What you have been doing for independent reporting of local news is deeply appreciated. We don’t always agree, but at least you are fair in allowing comment. More importantly, important matters get reported.
    Thank you.

  5. Sandy Sand says:

    Doug alluded to being fired and mentioned budget crunches, and Ron flat out said he was fired.
    The problem is we don’t know why.
    Was it a matter of money?
    Was it because he was constantly going after the City powers-that- be, exposing them for the corrupt, self-interested people that they are?
    Was there political pressure put on KABC to ax him?
    One thing is for sure, his replacement will give us nothing to chew on, serving up nothing but weak, thinned out gruel.
    Doug’s leaving is not only a loss to avid fans such as myself, who listened to him for more than seven years, but is a loss of an honest information and opinion stream for everyone in L.A.
    Doug always spoke from the heart and didn’t tell us what he thought we wanted to hear.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What made you awake from your slumber? You say, “As far as I can see, the times really are changing this time.” Sorry, if I extrapolate. But, here’s my take.
    Duh. That is a big understatement. The changes that will come to our society are enormous, and within the next 5 to 10 years will test us. If you believe in a strong, central federal government, strongly manipulating the media, patterned after totalitarianism then you’ll be right at home.
    If you believe in a government more suited for entreprenurialism, a decentralized,more freewheeling government then prepare for a crushing blow. More freedom is not what is planned for the good ol’ USA.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And another thing, although I’ve been highly critical of your efforts, and sometimes exaggerating for effect, I need to say news aggregates will rule the day, ie. mashups. So, your OURLA is the way to go. But, your presentation is terrible. And in the case of the Internet, PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING.
    Soon, most PCs will be replaced by tablets, keyboards will be replaced by touch, invisible keyboards, and voice, and news, information, and advertisements will be based on your own personal profile.
    To be successful, you should be planning for that now… not putting out that same ol’, same ol’. Forget that ol’ school.

  8. ellen vukovich says:

    I was really pissed-off when I found out that Doug was leaving. Like Sandy, I immediately thought pf “conspiracy.” Then, I realized that his situation mirrors Ron’s – after he left the Daily News. Doug will take the same opportunity to reinvent himself and we will also reap the benefits.
    And, this time there will be no stopping Doug. I can’t wait.

  9. Anonymous says:

    From above post:
    I was really pissed-off when I found out that Doug was leaving. Like Sandy, I immediately thought pf “conspiracy.” Then, I realized that his situation mirrors Ron’s – after he left the Daily News. Doug will take the same opportunity to reinvent himself and we will also reap the benefits.
    What??? Are you kidding??? Are you a moron??? IT WAS A CONSPIRACY…, TO REDUCE CONTROVERSIAL, CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO. Do you really believe that replacing Doug McIntyre with Peter Tilden was intended to increase ratings??? PLEASE THINK HARD!!!
    Ron Kaye has got to be kidding!!! DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW HOW TO FIX THIS CITY??? First, create a citywide, activist mailing list. Then, support the RECALL MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA campaign and replace him with MAYOR DOUG MCINTYRE.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think poor ratings did Doug in. Bill Handel’s competing show draws a big crowd compared to Doug.

  11. G. Shepherd says:

    To Anonymous 6:26 p.m.
    Opine all you want, but save your “moron” comments for your kindergarten class.
    Grrrrrrrr!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Heart the last hour of the show this morning, and Doug’s long-time side-kick is doing his best to undermine Peter Tilden. NOT helping him at all, constantly either criticizing him (like he when he went on a bit long riffing on some poll of which nation has the worst and best lovers: “you weren’t meant to go on so long about it, it was supposed to be a quick mention,”), said “I don’t care, it’s your show” in a disdainful way at some point asked about when to do the news, top of bottom of the hour – clearly asking for technical help from the veteran. This guy clearly hates that Tilden took over from his friend Doug and if the station wants Tilden to have a shot has to get him someone else.

  13. Ed says:

    KABC 970- no more.

  14. Ed says:

    KABC 790- no more.

  15. venicementor says:

    I was out of town and when I got back, Doug was no more. What a loss as he was the only person who held the city of LA “knuckle heads” feet to the fire. I am curious as to how much this has to do with the “Fairness Doctrine”? I no longer listen to KABC and I am sure they could care less. I for one, do care and it was a sad day when Doug left the station.

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