It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Friday, February 27, 2009

Journalism

I feel a death-of-journalism topic coming on. Here's a teaser.

I've been following @jayrosen_nyu on Twitter. He's an excellent source of post-web meta-journalism stories. Including this one by Steve Rhodes mentioning among many other things my pet peeve about how the NYTimes uses link tags:
I was reading a trade industry publication last week informing those of our profession that you don't have to use the old AP inverted pyramid style when writing your stories. You can use feature leads! You can write in narrative style! You can use all sorts of gimmicks to "write" if you just learn the craft of newspaperese! You'll win awards!

Um, what is this, the wayback machine to 1975? Not only is that an amazingly stale discussion, it's amazingly outdated. The revolution of the simple link has irrevocably altered the way we should be writing and structuring our stories. But guess what? Newspaper reporters don't put links in their stories! It's true! And when newspapers put stories online, an editor doesn't put links in those, either!

Oh sure, there are auto-generated links that helpfully point readers to encyclopedia entries of every proper name mentioned . . . woo-hoo!

If you haven't ever made a link, you have no business being within 500 miles of any "town hall" on how to save journalism.
Much more at the link.

Update: Another very insightful column, this one from Whet Moser, remarking on the same event.

and so it goes...

2 comments:

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Print media, online media, blah blah blah. But at the end of the day the real issue is this:

WE CAN HAZ REAL FACT-CHEKKIN NAO?

That's the only supposed advantage that the traditional media still have over the newer media.

Once that's gone, then the traditional media have nothing. Nothing.

gravityloss said...

Humm, read that conservative column. Interesting. He probably won't be listened to among the crowd.

Also, at the end I found out a little about the writer. Quite a peculiar fellow.

He might be the most logical american conservative writer I've encountered so far.

Though he says he's a mild racist and homophobe, does that define his party association?

I'd think those were rather minor things when one is trying to decide how to run the country in the face of scientific illiteracy by those who set policy.


There was a silk road documentary reprise on the telly today. I remember watching it as a kid. Quite a hard contrast with its slow pace with the excitingly shouting and repeating oversimplifying american and aussie documents the commercial channels over here buy. (The national channel buys stuff from the BBC etc. which is still mostly fine) They might expect a little more of the audience.

I wonder if politics has gone the say way as many of the documentaries. Actual content is close to nil and EXCITATION is important.