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.