Because You’re Misunderstanding What Journalism Is Matey

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We’re told that American society has some horrors in it. This is true by the way. Further, that journalism should be reporting on all these horrors. Possibly. And then the step over the edge:

The fact that it took a pandemic, police killings and mass protests to focus mainstream journalistic attention on these issues is damning, and must prompt a reappraisal of how we work. Why weren’t newsrooms obsessing about these issues before the world imploded this spring? Why must we always be reactive to injustice, instead of proactively highlighting it? Isn’t it the job of journalism to ferret out wrongdoing even if people in power want it to remain hidden? Why aren’t we advocating for our audiences and their lives?

Because that’s not journalism. That’s politics, proselitysing, propaganda even, but it’s not journalism. One aspect of journalism being that it’s a business. This means that people must voluntarily pay for the stuff – perhaps with their attention only but definitely pay – and the number of people who will pay for this stuff is roughly equal to the subscription list of The Nation. This is not enough people for it to be viable a a general, rather than niche, business model.

The other description is possibly more cynical and yet still true. Journalism is the process of filling in the white bits between the advertisements. Which is why much journalism is about the Kardashians and not inner city poverty – more people will look at the ads.

The real problem here though is that these Americans – for of course the people making the call are Americans – are graduate degree holders who think they have entered a vocation. Sorry lads, it’s a craft. Put the words in the right order, that’s the thing, not setting the world to rights.

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Spike
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Spike

It did not take “a pandemic, police killings and mass protests to focus mainstream journalistic attention.” It took mainstream journalists to amplify one not-unprecedented disease outbreak and one rough cop into alleged national crises. It is politicking, but it is also feeding the CNN audience what they want to read (and getting them to look at ads).

Those of us who want to find out what’s happening in America already turn elsewhere, though there are a few in the middle victimized by the mislabeling of “news.”

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

The reporting of news is today a rare event, what we have instead is a torrent of opinion editorial. By way of example the Guardian, on its rather well designed web site, asks users to support its “independent” journalism, whilst at the same time asking readers to support its campaign against the ludicrously labelled “climate emergency”. On the other side of the spectrum Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, which is Op-Ed, however eloquent, on steroids has just become the most watched cable news show ever in the USA. However, what is more concerning is the news that is either not… Read more »

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

Fortunately for the rest of the planet I don’t have access to a story-picker (the successor of the editor) otherwise the world would have to endure my opinions, no more or less worthless than those of the average journo or celebrity.