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R.I.P. Garrick Utley

GarrickUtley Veteran broadcast journalist Garrick Utley died February 20 of prostate cancer. He was 74.

Born in 1939 to parents who worked in radio and TV news, Utley personified the “old school” journalist who traveled the world gathering the news and writing and reporting his own stories. Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace — we’re losing them, one by one. And they aren’t being replaced.

Too many “journalists” today are just photogenic news readers practicing churnalism at the behest of employers more interested in ratings than news. And too much “news” today is partisan commentary, pretty blonde eye candy, viewer tweets, self-absorbed “celebrities,” and mind-numbingly dumb discussions (or shouting matches).

I am saddened to learn of Utley’s death. Saddened even more to have learned of it more than two weeks after the fact. His passing should have been noted far more than it was by those who stood on his shoulders but aren’t qualified to have carried his notebooks.


  1. We are as one regarding the quality of today’s journalism. Largely, it isn’t: it’s just reporters sitting around (in very thin numbers) waiting for publicity releases to pop into their Inboxes.
    In Oz there are a few left yet. Fingers crossed they don’t pop off the twig before me.

    • Makes me wonder if journalism schools like I attended have really stopped teaching the fundamentals of good reporting, journalistic ethics, etc., or if the graduates just dump everything they were taught in order to get a job. But then, I’m assuming all those news readers actually attended j-school in the first place …

      • A bit circuitous, one’s thinking becomes there … I can scarcely believe anyone actually studies journalism any more, as there is virtually nowhere for them to practise it. That is to say, down here, where bloody MURDOCH has his hands around 70% of our throats with his right-wing ranting. 😦

  2. Recently, a journalism professor told me they now teach advocacy journalism. I, and the former AP reporter listening to him advanced the thought that advocacy journalism by definition was not journalism. I endorse every word in your post. It would be difficult to say it better.

    • I agree. Advocacy journalism is a form of commentary, not impartial fact-gathering and reporting. Hell, if everyone becomes an advocacy journalist, we’ll never know what the truth is!

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