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Journalism: Access, Ethics & All That Jazz

December 22nd, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

journalism-old-school

I will be putting up light posting all the rest of this week, through Christmas. This means that the new stories I promised will be appearing after the holidays. (They’ll keep. One is about a young man in prison who may be innocent, and there will be more about Alex Sanchez case, and there are more.)


In the meantime:

1. The LA Press Club says that the proposed Federal Shield Law that passed out of committee not too long ago, is flawed but worth passing.


2. Has Matt Taibbi failed journalism, or has journalism failed Matt Taibbi?

At True/Slant John McQuaid notes that Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi is being slammed by biz reporters who say that many of his facts on his stories about the finanicial meldown this year are not adequately…um….checked. McQuaid points out that while Taibbi may get get a few things wrong, he gets the big picture right.

Whereas, suggests McQuaid, the entire financial journalism corps managed to miss the looming financial crisis.

The real problem here isn’t one journalist, but journalism itself. The U.S. media’s neutral, non-ideological form of reporting reached its apogee in terms of political influence and number of practitioners post-Watergate and pre-9/11. But during that time, its reach and credibility among the public were also steadily declining due to — you name it: fragmentation, failing business models, culture wars, growing structural and demographic political divisions. Government (and governing itself) came under sustained assault, and its regulatory and political checks on business — never all that strong — have been weakened.

Taibbi peels back the layers on this and shows it to be outrageous.
Whether you are a liberal or a free-marketeer, it is clear something big has gone wrong in the business-government nexus. If you’re going to part ways with Taibbi over his factual blunders or framing, that’s legit. But it still leaves the big question hanging out there — is his outrage misplaced?

Read the rest.

And here is Chris Lehman at the Awl on the same issue.


3. “After a Year of Ruin, Some Hope”

NY Times media writer David Carr has written an end-of-the-decade,
glass-half-full essay about the state of journalism. Here’s a ‘graph.

Blogs and new-media sites are cartoonishly written off as places where people write up the soup they just ate, but in the past year, many sites have added muscle and resources to the pursuit of news. Everyone knows about the reporting assets and influence of Politico (Politico.com), but you know things have changed when Gawker (gawker.com), the attitudinous Manhattan media blog, is hiring the kind of reporters who pick up the phone.

Yes, well. Good point. It would likely feel like a better point if Carr hadn’t been one of those doing the “cartoonish” writing off.

No matter. Read it anyway.



4. “Journalism” and the “media” are not synonymous

Or so writes NYU J-school prof, and media Jedi master, Jay Rosen. Here are the opening ‘graphs.

Journalism, the practice, is not “the media,” although for many years most of the journalism that got done was done inside the media industry. Now that industry is in trouble, but not because people no longer want to be informed or entertained (they still do). Rather, the social pattern that sustained the media industry has been disrupted by technology.

The media used to work in a one-to-many pattern--that is, by broadcasting. The Internet, though it can be used for one-to-many transmission, is just as well suited for few-to-few, one-to-one, and many-to-many patterns. Traditionally, the media connected audiences “up” to centers of power, people of influence, and national spectacles. The Internet does all that, but it is equally good at connecting us laterally–to peers, to colleagues, and to strangers who share our interests. When experts and power players had something to communicate to the attentive publics they wished to address, they once had to go through the media. Now they can go direct.

Read on.


Posted in Future of Journalism, media | 16 Comments »

16 Responses

  1. reg Says:

    That McQuaid piece was great. Taibbi uses a shotgun, not silver bullets, but with a few exceptions when it actually mattered his critics were kissing ass and offering bj’s to the culprits in the bigger story.

  2. Drinking with Tony Says:

    Know the difference between a “newsboy” hat and a news man’s hat. The latter is the fedora, with press card tucked neatly into the brim, that reporters wear while out in the field. The news boy’s hat, on the other hand, is the front-brimmed cap worn by young newspaper vendors back in jolly old England, before all newspapers were put into neat coin-operated kiosks. Trying to put a press card into a newsboy’s cap would be improper and difficult (you fool no one Sure Shit).

  3. Drinking with Tony Says:

    Now if jolly old Woody can answer this.
    -Why did news reporters wear hats when giving the news on the radio in the 1940s and 50s?

  4. Elijah Says:

    The background is too dope for words.

  5. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Reg, that’s precisely what I think. Taibbi can get on my nerves, at times, but he’s doing the work that the so-called experts declined to do—and still decline to do. And he’s wickedly smart.

  6. Woody Says:

    Drinking with Tony, to keep their heads warm?

  7. reg Says:

    Taibbi is smart, but he can also be an idiot. In his exchange with Bob Kuttner on the Moyers show he was pushing this idiotic “Kill the Bill” shit that Jane Hamsher is also pushing. This is really, really wrong-headed and indicative of a kind of elitism and disconnection from the “real base” that a lot of lefties are prone to. The reason that folks like Hamsher – who is proposing a totally nutty “left-right populist alliance” with the Teabaggers on Huffington Post – are 180 wrong on this has been well-documented by Ezra Klein, Nate Silver and Jonathan Cohn, among others. I respect Howard Dean, Bob Reich, Kuttner and others who are pointing out the serious problems with the HRC bill down to the wire – but organizing to “Kill the Bill”, when it would hold out so much help to people who can’t get insurance and middle and low-income folks who can’t afford decent insurance, is immoral and plays right into the hands of the ugly mob led by Sarah Palin, Beck, Dick Armey and the rest of that scumbag crew. Flamethrowers like Taibbi have their role, but it’s certainly not dishing out advice on how to actually deal politically with the problems they’re shouting about.

  8. WTF Says:

    The heck with being a reporter, I want to be an LA cop and makes lots of money and retire early with a great benefits package. Beside, cops also get to wear hats.

    http://www.dailynews.com/ci_14042750?

  9. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Yeah, no kidding. I’ll likely put something up about it tonight. (And, yeah, definitely good accessories for law enforcement.)

  10. Celeste Fremon Says:

    And, yes about Taibbi’s downside. He’s a teensy bit on the narcissistic end of the spectrum, which is a problem and often leads him astray, I fear.

  11. sweet Mary Says:

    One of the most glaring outward signs of malignant narcissism is the way narcissists malign others. They are constantly improving their own image at someone else’s expense. Does this sound familiar, Sure Fire and Woody?

  12. sweet Mary Says:

    Other examples are – being repulsed by what should endear. Laughing at what is tragic. My experience convinces me that narcissists use these backwards reactions to things as shock tactics.

    They strike you as the sight of an apple falling UP from a tree would. It takes you aback. It disarms you.
    That way the narcissist gets away with it, because you are stunned. It’s kinda like a “sucker punch”.

    While your jaw is hanging and you are wondering where that reaction came from – whether you or the narcissist is the crazy one – the narcissist performs this hit-and-run to get away with the abuse.

    It’s a way to disable you (by morally stunning you) so that you cannot defend yourself from the attack. The term for disabling and then attacking someone is “mayhem.” Needless to say, it’s the lowest of the low who fight that way.

    Know anybody who does that you? Who somehow takes offense and gets mad just when you are saying or doing something that should make them happy? If you do know anyone like this, stay away from them. It’s a stunt. A perverted stunt to catch you off guard and run you over.

    And normal people, people of goodwill, don’t do that.

  13. Sure Fire Says:

    The best defense is a good offense.

  14. RobThomas Says:

    Sure Fire, the best defense is a good offense? That’s a football phrase. Surely you know that. But go ahead and use it as a proverb to humanize bad cops, if you’re that desperate.

    newayz, I hate narcissists. They get in the way of me having whatever I want, and getting my way in every situation.

    I’m not a hypocrite, I just criticize others for doing the same things that I do.

    Imagine a world with no hypothetical situations?

  15. Sure Fire Says:

    You talk so much and say so little Robbie. Your reputation as a troll is fitting.

  16. WTF Says:

    One of the most glaring outward signs of malignant narcissism is the way narcissists……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    ****************************

    Looks like our Cybil has invented a few more names to continue his OCD rants about Woody and Sure Fire, at least he has moved on from his endless rants about Robber Barons, The Powers That Be and Mary Cummins.

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