What is serious news reporting?

From Tom Stites’s “Guest Posting: Is Media Performance Democracy’s Critical Issue?” (Center for Citizen Media: Blog: 3 July 2006):

Serious reporting is based in verified fact passed through mature professional judgment. It has integrity. It engages readers – there’s that word again, readers – with compelling stories and it appeals to their human capacity for reason. This is the information that people need so they can make good life decisions and good citizenship decisions. Serious reporting is far from grim and solemn and off-putting. It is accessible and relevant to its readers. And the best serious reporting is a joy to read.

Serious reporting emanates largely from responsible local dailies and national and foreign reporting by big news organizations, print and broadcast. But the reporting all these institutions do is diminishing. With fewer reporters chasing the news, there is less and less variety in the stories citizens see and hear. The media that are booming, especially cable news and blogs, do precious little serious reporting. Or they do it for specialized audiences.