Editing by click rate is stupid and unethical. Chasing traffic is an abyss. The hamsterization of journalism is degrading the work environment for news professionals. Expecting reporters to report, write, blog, tweet, shoot video, sift the web, raise their metabolism, and produce more without time and training is guaranteed to fail. Trading in print dollars for digital dimes has been an economic disaster for newsrooms that ran on those dollars. Online advertising will never replace what was lost. The editorial staff is the engine that makes the whole thing go. You cannot cut your way to the future. The term “content” is a barbarism that bit by bit devalues what journalists do. Pure aggregation is parasitic on original reporting. Untended, online comment sections have become sewers, protectorates for the deranged, depraved and deluded. That we have fewer eyes on power, fewer journalists at the statehouse or city hall watching what goes on, almost guarantees that there will be more corruption. Bloggers and citizen journalists cannot fill the gap. Experienced beat reporters are the community’s institutional memory. Everyone needs an editor. It’s absurd to claim that “anyone” can be a journalist if we mean by that someone who knows how to find the right sources and ask the right questions, dig for information, counter the spin, produce a fair, accurate and unflinching account without libeling anybody– and do it all on deadline.
Also (and especially) this:
A journalist is just a heightened case of an informed citizen, not a special class.
As they say, read the whole damn thing.
Johann Hari, September 2011:
“If I had asked the many experienced colleagues I have here at The Independent… they would have explained just how wrong I was. It was arrogant and stupid of me not to ask.”
Indeed it was — or was it…?
Johann Hari, June 2011:
“I called round…other interviewers for British newspapers and they said what I did was normal practice and they had done it themselves.”
Either way, at the end of the day the purple-prosed, narcissistic little shit-stain gets to keep his plum position as UK journamalism’s favourite idiot-savant fabulist, despite having brazenly made shit up (including at least one viciously libellous Wikipedia sockpuppet) — and all he had to do to save his bacon was give back his undeserved Orwell Prize and pen an intellectually insulting J’accuse in lieu of a proper apology (actual sincerity would have required a modicum of shame/regret on Hari’s part — IOW, don’t hold yer breath, cupcake).
Nice work if you can get it.
In other news, Ben Domenech, Jayson Blair, and Stephen Glass are reportedly emigrating to Mother London en masse, caps & (HIGHLY CREATIVE) CVs in hand (low hanging fruit, yes, but sometimes it pays to slake one’s hunger for snark with some easy pickings).
h/t The Media Blog
Cole drops an Apocalypse Now reference, while The Artist Formerly Known as Tacitus thinks shitcanning is imperative if the republic is to survive the impact of McChrystal’s insta-infamous still-unpublished Rolling Stone interview [h/t Ben Smith].
One early thought: does [McChrystal] want to get fired for insubordination before his strategy is shown to fail?
But I also think Ed Morrissey might be illustrating ye olde canard about stopped clocks with this apt (if cynical) observation:
[T]o paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, Obama may prefer to keep McChrystal in the tent even if he’s pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing into it. Once relieved of his command, McChrystal may have a lot more to say about the Obama administration than what will appear in Rolling Stone this month.
The good general is now walking backwards at quite the furious pace for someone supposedly trying to commit career seppuko. Plus, as Spackerman notes, thanks to the swift and overwhelmingly negative fallout from his comments, the White House may believe that ”a chastened McChrystal isn’t going to say anything else outside of his lane to any reporter.” We’ll have to see if the groveling, coupled with pragmatic political considerations, gives McChrystal a last-minute reprieve as he walks the Green Mile.
Last word, via the 140:
While editors are hailing the ruling as a breakthrough for more aggressive journalism, it also makes it clear that these days, news organizations may be less able than ever to deliver on these expectations.
That’s because as layoffs continue at news organizations and as newsrooms are pared down to the editorial bone, the ability of news organizations to engage in deep, contextual investigative journalism is far from what it once was, or what it should be.
News organizations almost everywhere are dropping their investigative units as too expensive, too time-consuming and far too unable to deliver the requisite audience numbers. Instead, investigative reporting is being contracted out in the U.S. and other countries to “stand-alone” not-for-profits such as ProPublica, Global Post, and the Center for Public Integrity, among others. In Canada, we don’t even have that option.
My guess is that media law departments are now advising chief editors to restrain their journalists from doing more aggressive reporting unless they can prove that every effort (including a demonstrable commitment to editorial resources) has been made to get all sides of the story. It’s that commitment to shoe-leather reporting that is among the first things to be dropped in a downsizing news organization.
Dvorkin also addresses a matter that Jeff Jedras brought up the other day, the perceived lack of “professionalism” among us foul-mouthed Cheeto-eaters, and may finally have come up with a viable solution on how to effectively net-nanny teh ornery tubes:
The ruling addresses the issue of ethics, standards and practices among bloggers – those independent reporters and opinion-mongers whose power and influence are growing just as legacy media’s reach and heft are diminishing. The ruling brings the blogosphere under the same right, responsibilities and obligations as the mainstream media.
The challenge for the online community is to create a set of ethical standards that will give bloggers the same credibility with the public as valid as those espoused by the mainstream media. In effect, bloggers need an ombudsman.
Indeed. A ‘blogbudsman’, if you will. I nominate Canadian Cynic.
h/t Bill Doskoch
If “ethics” are the codification in rules of the practices that lead to trust on the platform where the users actually are—which is how I think of them—then journalists have their ethics and bloggers have theirs.
- Good bloggers observe the ethic of the link.
- They correct themselves early, easily and often.
- They don’t claim neutrality but they do practice transparency.
- They aren’t remote, they habitually converse.
- They give you their site, but also other sites as a proper frame of reference. (As with the blogroll.)
- When they grab on to something they don’t let go; they “track” it.
In all these ways, good bloggers build up trust with a base of users online. And over time, the practices that lead to trust on the platform where the users actually are… these become their ethic, their rules.
Those in journalism who want to bring ethics to blogging ought to start with why people trust (some) bloggers, not with an ethics template made for a prior platform that operated as a closed system in a one-to-many world.
That’s why I say: if bloggers had no ethics, blogging would have failed. Of course it didn’t. Now you have a clue.
Jesse Taylor explains why, contra aimai, the latest example of desperate hand wringing on the part of the traditional media over the scourge that is online incivility (fetch forth teh fainting couch!) misses the mark by honing in on the trees, rather than the forest:
I understand that us bloggers use cursewords and invective and sometimes call reporters mud-flinging slapfucks (or we do now!), but the entire point of the conservative anger is that it allows them to push forward complete and total lies and yell down anyone who debates against them.
The reason conservatives are so able to build up lies is because, by being nasty about it, they know that the dreaded MSM will only focus on the nastiness. Eventually, the entire thing turns into a series of op-eds by Davids Broder and Brooks excoriating both sides for lowering the discourse, asking where President Obama’s promise of postpartisanship went, and then endorsing the three elected Republican officials who haven’t accused Obama of flouridating our children’s water supply as a method of mind control as the new centrist way forward.
Precisely. I could give a flying rainbow butt monkey fuck about how ZOMG RUDE!11 wingnuts are; it’s the fucking lying, stupid. Alas, judging by the continued preponderance of lazy ‘he said, she said’ stenography, too many in the press apparently consider it far more important to fret about the term ‘bullshit’ than to, y’know, call it.
Priorities. They can totally has them.
(photo by NYCArthur, used under a Creative Commons license)
Seven months ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton — the powerful New York Senator, former First Lady, and runner-up in the brutally long Democratic primary competition — became U.S. President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Since then, she’s chastened North Korea, advocated on behalf of Burma, and rallied against Israeli settlement building. She’s logged nearly 100,000 air miles. She’s tirelessly pursued Obama’s diplomatic agenda around the world.
And she’s done it while fostering or demonstrating little friction with the White House she once hoped to occupy. Being secretary of state doesn’t just require being a diplomat abroad. It requires being a diplomat in Washington. For, foreign policy is not and has never been the purview of State alone — Clinton overlaps and dovetails and supports and creates policy with Obama, a spate of diplomatic envoys, the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, the national security advisers, Vice President Joe Biden, et cetera. By all accounts, she’s done well at that as well.
Not that you’d know it reading the paper. Too often, coverage of Clinton neglects the fact that the secretary of state has never been the sole creator of U.S. foreign policy. It also, far too often, focuses hyper-intently on the perceived narrative of how Clinton feels about her relationship with the White House — rather than the actual relationship between Clinton and Obama or how she’s doing her job.
As they say, read the whole damn thing — Lowrey goes on to name ‘em and shame ‘em. It (still) ain’t pretty.
h/t The Kicker
Apropos, especially in light of the recent public tussle between the straight-from-the-Jurassic editorial staff of the Toronto Star and a certain far-sighted columnist/blogger:
Undeniably, there is money to be made in digital publishing with free reader access, but whether that revenue leads to profits depends upon the scale and scope of the organization. The potential revenue does not appear to be of the magnitude that will support the massive operations of existing news organizations. What works in today’s web landscape are lean and mean organizations with little or no management bureaucracy — operations where nearly every employee is working on producing actual content. I’m an extreme example — a literal one-man show. A better example is Josh Marshall’s TPM Media, which is hiring political and news reporters. TPM is growing, not shrinking. But my understanding is that nearly everyone who works at TPM is working on editorial content.
Old-school news companies aren’t like that — the editorial staff makes up only a fraction of the total head count at major newspaper and magazine companies. The question these companies should be asking is, “How do we keep reporting and publishing good content?” Instead, though, they’re asking “How do we keep making enough money to support our existing management and advertising divisions?” It’s dinosaurs and mammals.
As they say, read the whole damn thing.
h/t Joe Trippi
If only the GENERAL mainstream media establishment would go after each other with this kind of righteous gusto when warranted — as is DEFINITELY the case here:
“We really don’t want our coverage of the civil lawsuit filed against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to become an exercise in the bashing of ESPN. We’ve got some friends who work there (maybe not as many after today), and we don’t generally believe that the network is evil or corrupt or otherwise nasty.
“However, we do believe that the network is way too large for its own good, and that unless and until a true competitor emerges, it’s up to everyone else to point out those occasions when the emperor is riding both bareback and bareassed.
“The handling of the Roethlisberger case makes us wonder whether there’s a complete firewall between the business functions of ESPN and its journalistic activities. We say this because we’re convinced that the Roethlisberger story initially was ignored due to concerns that ESPN would be jeopardizing its access to the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, who also happens to play for the team with the most loyal and rabid fan base in America.“
The entire post is a must-read, take-no-prisoners smackdown that shows ESPN to indeed “be riding both barebacked and bareassed” (first uncovered by NBC Sports here). And it would seem that the spanking has made an impact, as ProFootballTalk reports in an update:
Technically, ESPN is now acknowledging the report, albeit unwittingly. As of this posting, the “Top Stories From ABC News” box on ESPN.com’s various pages includes the headline, “Woman: Super Bowl QB Raped Me.”
Again, if only…
h/t WAM! co-founder & Yes Means Yes co-editor Jaclyn Friedman
(Her take on the Roethlisberger rape suit and ESPN’s initial refusal to cover the story here)