SNAFU

You know what the acronym in the title of this post means, don’t you?

Well, here’s a little story for you. I work with a lot of young writers and I am always beating into their heads: check your facts, double check your sources, make sure you’ve spelled everything correctly. And, you do know what a comma fault is, right?

These days, the conventional wisdom seems to be: get it first; fix it later because, you know, like, the web lets you do that.

So, no.

I’m old enough to remember when the mantra was get it first and get it right the first time. Period. End of. That is certainly that I have always striven for — that, and knowing the past participle of strive is striven, even if strived is now acceptable — but we don’t always live up to our expectations we set for ourselves.

Yesterday, for example, I wanted to knock out a story on another blog before I left for the airport. I did, but I inadvertently failed to abide by one of the cardinal rules: proof carefully. Twice. Consequently, I ran afoul of one of my own pet peeves: I spelled someone’s name wrong. And guess who caught it? The subject himself.

I hurriedly made changes on my phone as they were boarding my flight. I’m sure I looked like a complete moron at the time and quite frankly, that’s exactly how I felt. And quite frankly, I should have.

Still, not excusing the lack of proofing, I did what you are supposed to do: I apologized, I fixed it, I moved on. At the end of the day, I took responsibility for the error and lived to write another day. That’s the game, folks.

PS — I suppose that this gets up under my fingernails because people misspell my name every day of the week. And it’s not a difficult one, either. I don’t look like a Marc Blackman to you, do I?

Is Journalism Descending into a World of Tweets?

Here’s a great op-ed from the Dec. 11, 2014 WSJ. It may be paywalled, but you should find it and read it.

The writer is Edward Kosner, who is the former editor of a couple of little publications that you may not have heard of: namely Newsweek, New York and Esquire. Kosner takes to task this new wave of pseudo-journos who have left fact-checking in the backroom and traded it for sensationalism (Rolling Stone’s rape victim story), omission because fact-checking might bring legal challenges (Mark Whittaker’s biography of Bill Cosby) and utter contempt for an established culture (Chris Hughes’s remaking of The New Republic).

Is it better to get it wrong but have a sensational viral build? That seems to be the central thesis of how things are heading in journalism today. In a fast-paced, TMZ-obsessed, facts-aren’t-as-important-as-they-used-to-be, feed the beast, apologize later, 24/7/365 news cycle of a world, is there room for civility and discourse and thoughtful analysis and researched, fact-checked, credible investigative pieces?

What would Edwin Newman say? Or Cronkite? Or Dan Schorr? I think Edward R. Murrow is off somewhere in the ether having a cigarette and a good, sad cry over the state of things today.

Kosner’s piece put me in mind of the latest installment of the HBO series The Newsroom, which focused on the takeover the fictional cable network by an unscrupulous non-journalist who saw nothing wrong with bending the facts if rating ticked upward and twinned that story with a ripped-from-the-headlines tale of campus rape and how hard it is for victims to get justice in a system that is weighted heavily against them.

There’s nothing in me that says that Twitter — or a blog — cannot deliver legitimate news, that newspapers that deliver the news on newsprint are better than those that delivery the news in pixels or that print newsweeklies are somehow superior to online magazines. To me, that’s not even the argument. What’s really at stake is the credibility of journalists. Do we say, “Hell, no!” and continue to check our facts and fight to publish high-quality reporting? Or do we roll over and let the 1% at the top of the corporate food chain’s mania for profits win?

HLN Announces the End of Journalism

Meme: Dave Franco and Zac Efron’s Homoerotic Handshake, HLN Announces the End of Journalism, “Pushing Daisies, The Musical”? – thebacklot.com.

HLN announced that they were abandoning their programming to become a social media focused network. And some of their shows will make you weep for journalism. I Can Haz NewsToons will serve up animated satire of current events, One.Click.Away will scour online classified for big buys, while Keywords is a game about searching and tagging trivia from the online world. Can somebody check and see if Ted Turner’s head exploded?

So, do you want to know what stupid looks like? Here it is. This is obviously some 50-year-old’s idea of how to attract 20-something social media users to engage with TV. Speaking as a 50-year-old (almost) IT’S THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER IN THE HISTORY OF IDEAS THAT’S NOT STARTING A WAR!!

Why? Why are corporations so stupid? Do you really want to engage young people? Turn your damn cable channel back into a NEWS CHANNEL and then — here’s a shocker — broadcast the news!

Condé Nast Drops Intern Program

Condé Nast Axes Intern Program|MediaBistro

Good piece. Was Condé Nast correct in eliminating all internships? Will it end up being a good thing since they will now have to pay for all of their talent? I don’t know. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

On one hand, we’ve become so damn litigious that we’ll sue at the drop of a hat over things like interns working for slave wages, say. On the other hand, are we ever going to have another generation of journalists who learn by doing as opposed to figuring out which textbooks are wrong?

We shall see….

Here’s what you miss by only talking to white men about the digital revolution and journalism

Here’s what you miss by only talking to white men about the digital revolution and journalism.| The Washington Post – The Switch blog

On Monday, Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on The Press, Politics and Public Policy and the Nieman Journalism Lab launched Riptide, a new project about the disruption of journalism by technology. The project bills itself as an “oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, from 1980 to the present.”

But looking at the final product and their list of sources, it appears that the project misses a key aspect of how the digital age disrupted traditional journalism: Digital advances, particularly the spread of the Internet and the rise of blogging, gave a powerful new way for voices marginalized in the elite journalism sphere to spread their stories.

I love this. And it’s so true. In journalism, certainly, but across the Western World in its entirety. Whenever you see a “captain of industry” that is anything other than a white man — more specifically, a white man 55+ — it’s a novelty. It’s true. It’s sad; but it’s true.

The project would have been stronger if it had done a better job of incorporating the perspective of female and minority voices. For example, one of the ways the digital age disrupted the journalism field was making it easier for marginalized voices to find audiences. 

Indeed. African-Americans, women, the LGBT community, Latinos — all groups that have been marginalized by the mainstream and all groups which have embraced the Internet with vigor. Who needs a white male out-of-step gatekeeper when you can produce your own content and get it to your constituents??

Revenge of the Sources

I understand why a professional journalist like Nate Thayer would be frustrated at being asked to work for “exposure” rather than work for pay, though I think it’s unprofessional to vent that frustration by publishing the e-mails and the name of the junior editor who made the request.

But behind this debate lurks an uncomfortable fact: The salaries of professional journalists are built upon our success in convincing experts of all kinds working for exposure rather than pay. Now those experts have found a way to work for exposure without going through professional journalists, creating a vast expansion in the quantity and quality of content editors can get for free.

via Revenge of the sources.

This is a really interesting piece on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog by Ezra Klein.

There is a journalistic side to this issue, but there is also a fundamental management issue at hand. If you are a professional media manager, you “feed” information to news organs. That’s just how it works. I cannot tell you how many times something I have written has appeared in the newspaper — especially small market, understaffed newspapers, but not always — verbatim. Am I ticked because I did not get bylined? No. That’s my job. And I recognize that.

People on both sides of this particular equation need to be continually educated about where the elusive line in the sand is and what expectations are from the other side.

This is an important piece. Read it and think on it.

H/T to my good friend Bill Tyson, one of our finer media managers, who tweeted this link out. Follow him @BTysonPitchPerf. Follow we @markrblackmon.

 

The Dish Model Redux

via The Dish Model, Ctd « The Dish.
In this post Andrew alludes to an All Things Considered piece from earlier this week. I happened to hear it when it was repurposed for Morning Edition this morning.

So interesting how many people are fascinated by what he’s done. Not taking advertising money seems to be astonishing to people. Amazing.

sully-newdish

Here’s a cut with my musings on this when he announced he was leaving the Daily Beast to set up his own site sans patron.