Instant, 24-hour news leads to less depth in journalism, Novak says

By Brittany Hackett |

Veteran Washington reporter Robert Novak began his career 50 years ago in an age without 24-hour cable news channels, cell phones or the Internet, but that doesn’t prevent him from having an opinion on the technology.

Novak will be speaking at tonight’s Forum on Government and Public Policy, where he will talk about his recently published book, The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington. In the book, Novak shares memoirs of his career and the people he has encountered.

Novak has covered every U.S. president since Lyndon B. Johnson, appeared on numerous television shows and authored and authored several books. At the end of the day, though, Novak enjoys writing his column, “Inside Report,” which is syndicated in the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I’m a print journalist and that’s where I get my satisfaction and enjoyment,” Novak said. “I did television because it’s a lot more lucrative, and I enjoyed it. It’s a lot of fun. But I’m 76 years old. I’m still writing my regular column and it’s hard work because it’s based on trying to provide new news and new insights, which is difficult.”

Novak said he has observed many changes in journalism, such as the 24-hour news cycle of cable news and the Internet, many of which have not been for the better, he said.

“The idea of the newspaper reporter writing a story and it appearing in the next day’s paper, and that’s been the way most hard news is transmitted to the country, and that’s passed,” Novak said. “A lot of the analytical journalism is pretty superficial. I think the reporting is shoddy.

“And I just worry about the whole question of rushing out either to the television tube or to the Internet to get the news out fast, and perhaps not as accurate or as great of depth as it should be.”

The relationship between the media and politicians has also changed, Novak said, becoming more confrontational as the need to fill the 24-hour news cycle grows.

“I think less of the news gets out when it’s so confrontational and so little communication,” Novak said.

The Forum is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the Flagler College Auditorium, 14 Granada St.

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