Modern Journalism is a Serious Pickle

The recent firings of Dave Weigel by the Washington Post and Octavia Nasr by CNN show that mainstream journalists, who are expected to display some personality and attitude on social media to better connect to the audience, will be fired the minute they make an important group mad. I don't envy the job of a reporter at a major media outlet pressed into blogging or tweeting for the company.

Conservative journalist James Poulos sums up the predicament well:

Writers now have competing pressures -- to be witty, quick, ironic, noticeable, flip, to dispatch every clay pigeon tossed up by a culture pandemic with pigeons; but also to self-edit, to self-moderate, to be reticent at the right time, to pussyfoot expertly, to pick battles, to avoid perils, to besmirch rarely, to duck blame, to satisfy spectral overseers. This is a serious pickle, is it not? And yet it now appears to be the cost of doing business. Possibly, this is the internet imitating life.

I found this great quote in a funny fake media orientation video.


I even feel a wee bit of that pressure blogging for TechRepublic. But I usually just shrug it off and say what I think anyway. If I lose the gig it wouldn't be the end of the world, but if I lose my free voice it would be.

Note the description is above is essentially "entertainer, topical division" - i.e. it's exactly what expected for a late-night talk-show host or a political comedian who does jokes based on current events.

By the way, the above firings are the sort of results that social media evangelists DO NOT including in their sales pitch about the supposed benefits of social media (or if they do mention it, it's with a whine about how it shouldn't happen and we'll all accept it in the future - little comfort to the person fired in the present).

I've made social media pitches before. It is tempting to sell the benefits of immediate authentic interaction without explaining the risks involved. As the CNN situation shows, it doesn't take much to turn a tweet into a media scandal.

Personally, there is nothing wrong thinking that democracy needs objective reporting, hence this should indeed a part of a large intervention about journalistic objectivity. If we will kill objective reporting then, information that we reveal once in a while will stay unrevealed, thus, investigated pieces stays uninvestigated and we will all be wore off because of it. We are all deemed for our own opinion and I think it is just fair but if everybody will give their opinion and no one is still doing the business of reporting the democracy and the opinion of the majority will be dead. Objectivity matters, because it matters to journalism. I do stand for objective journalism, when delivered righteously, will not have to hamstring journalists. Instead, objectivity hand-in-hand with the devoted journalists digging below the surface, can create a journalism that is both ruthless and dependable. For it isn't perfect, at least they tried to be one of it.

Social media was made for weeding out clowns like David Shuster.

Darwinian theory at werk.

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