Sunday, October 4, 2009

What is the difference then between a journalist and a hit man...

The quote from this article in the Atlantic is just spot-on. Of late, the prospects of a reporter seem on the dim side. Not just because the newspapers are being closed all over the nation, but also because in the democratization of the news gathering process there has been a dilution of the standards that come with Journalism.
"What’s most troubling is not that TV-news producers mistake their work for journalism, which is bad enough, but that young people drawn to journalism increasingly see no distinction between disinterested reporting and hit-jobbery. The very smart and capable young men (more on them in a moment) who actually dug up and initially posted the Sotomayor clips both originally described themselves to me as part-time, or aspiring, journalists."

I've no beef with Sotomayor, and I'm not worried (yet) about her politics and her new seat on the Supreme Court. Does it mean that I'm pleased that Fox had the rotisserie spit ready for her? Nope, I was hoping they would allow her voting record speak for her.

" What gave newspapers their value was the mission and promise of journalism—the hope that someone was getting paid to wade into the daily tide of manure, sort through its deliberate lies and cunning half-truths, and tell a story straight. There is a reason why newspaper reporters, despite polls that show consistently low public regard for journalists, are the heroes of so many films. The reporter of lore was not some blue blood or Ivy League egghead, beholden to society’s powerful interests, be they corporate, financial, or political. We liked our newsmen to be Everymen—shoe-leather intellectuals, cynical, suspicious, and streetwise like Humphrey Bogart in Deadline—U.S.A. or Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story or Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman inAll the President’s Men. The Internet is now replacing Everyman with every man. Anyone with a keyboard or cell phone can report, analyze, and pull a chair up to the national debate. If freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, today that is everyone."

The article goes on to tell how Morgen Richmond, a blogger that Googled Sotomayor's speeches, struck on one that became ammunition against her once Fox picked it up. I finished the article thinking that unless journalists switch gears and join PR firms in droves, they'll be out of a job...