comes into being only through an organizing intelligence, an organizing sensibility. It depends on form, an unfashionable little word, without which significance is lost to chaos. As Aristotle suggested more than two millennia ago, form requires a beginning and middle and end. It demands unity of theme. Journalism cuts through the atwitter state to thematic coherence.
In the making of the choices I have described, presence is required. Because part of the choice lies in something ineffable — the air you breathe, the sounds you hear, the shadow light as a bird’s wing that falls across fearful eyes — something that cannot be seized or rendered at a distance.Technology has enriched journalism by expanding the means to deliver it and the raw material on which it is based. But technology has also diminished the incentive — and the revenue — to get out of the office. Understanding without the trained “view from the ground” (Martha Gellhorn) remains impossible. Nature abhors a vacuum, journalism even more so, and so it fills absence with windiness.
It's enough to forgive Roger Cohen the snide, condescending attitude he took towards the French in endorsing Nicolas Sarkozy's candidature using a 'tough love' rationale in the 2007 Presidential election.
Op-Ed Columnist - New Tweets, Old Needs - NYTimes.com