On Pandora, Apple's iRadio and Hack Journalism

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I take what I do very seriously. I make a concerted effort to be among the best at it. And I am not even close to stopping. In fact, it's just the beginning. You'll be seeing a lot more of me in the coming months and years. Good Lord willing.

With that as a preface, I'm angry. At least as angry as I can get about a subject as meaningless in the grand scheme of life as Internet radio.

But, then again, music plays an important role for many of us. It has, quite literally, saved lives. It stirs emotions, provides space to reflect. We should take care when we discuss it. That's not happening -- rarely has -- with respect to Apple ( AAPL), Pandora ( P) and the related topics that have come before and alongside talk of iRadio.

Something I wrote the other day bears repeating:
I hear -- directly and indirectly -- from a considerable number of people that "good" journalism "died" a long time ago. I disagree. It's more about an epidemic we're dealing with: A shortage of good journalists.

I torture myself daily -- for countless hours -- considering the state of journalism as it butts up against new media. I have come to the conclusion that there's not a problem with journalism; there's simply something wrong with many who claim to practice it.

You need to do a lot more these days to capture a reader, listener or viewer's attention. Often that means writing provocative headlines or stating your opinion the way you might state it after a few beers. This change did not occur overnight; it's been in the works for decades. First it was talk radio, particularly the sports guys doing "guy talk." Then it was TheStreet's own Jim Cramer. Then it was Fox News and large swaths of cable television. Then it was fantastic operations such as Gawker, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and Business Insider.

Each of these individuals and entities -- in their own way -- blurs the lines between what it means to be a journalist, a reporter and an opinion maker. In fact, they rendered such terms anachronistic. We are all personalities. A dynamic word for dynamic times.

But just because you're a personality -- using more aggressive strategies to cut through -- you don't stop doing the work that made our predecessors great journalists, reporters and opinion makers. The names I listed understand what it takes to cut through, but also do consistent, thought-provoking, informative and interesting work.

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