Journalism may never have been as public-spirited an enterprise as editors and writers liked to think it was. Yet the myth mattered. It pushed journalism to challenge power; it made journalists loath to bend to the whims of their audience; it provided a crucial sense of detachment. The new generation of media giants that dominates journalism today has no patience for the old ethos of detachment. It’s not that these companies don’t have aspirations toward journalistic greatness. BuzzFeed, Vice, and the Huffington Post invest in excellent reporting and employ first-rate journalists—and they have produced some of the most memorable pieces of investigative journalism in this century. But in the pursuit of audience, they have allowed the endless feedback loop of the web to shape their editorial sensibility and determine their editorial investments.
The paragraph given argues that though journalism may have never been as public-spirited as it believed itself to be, the myth of detachment mattered, as it encouraged journalistic ideals such as standing up to power and not bending to the whims of the audience. In contrast, the guiding ethos of media giants that dominate journalism today is not detachment or editorial sensibility, but the relentless pursuit of the audience. Option (C) sums up the main idea of the paragraph the best. Option (A) talks of ‘editorial insight’ being engineered with the help of audience feedback loops. The paragraph, on the other hand talks of editorial sensibility/discernment, and expresses concern that media giants, in their single-minded focus on audience, have dashed the “crucial” myth of detachment that shaped journalism earlier. Option A does not touch upon this. Option (B) is close, but incorrect, as it refers to “social-consciousness” that journalism exhibited earlier. The paragraph categorically states that journalism was never as public-spirited as it imagined itself to be. Option (D) talks of a drop in the quality of journalism. The paragraph actually states the contrary. It only holds that editorial sensibility has been compromised. Correct Answer: Choice (c)
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