It’s all in the timing
: National Geographic Traveler’s cover this month: “Bali — Still paradise?
No, I mean besides the Internet
: There is a real black hole.
: Elizabeth Spiers blog keeps getting better and better.
The future of journalism
: I had an instructive professional moment last night.
My 10-year-old son has joined his school newspaper (if this were TV, you’d see a look of paternal pride) and I’m going to talk to the kids. My son doesn’t read newspapers yet, which I wouldn’t expect. He doesn’t really follow news yet. But I said that it was at his age that I started; I remember the first newspaper story I picked up out of curiousity and liked because it told me everything I wanted to know (it was a weather story promising snow… and a snow day).
So I said it’s time for him to start reading a paper. We get lots of them (as many as six in a day). I picked up one, looking for a story that might interest him (and that wouldn’t scare me if it did interest him). First paper: Nothing. Second paper: Nothing. Only when my wife picked up the mushy Gannett local paper did she find a story about a pesky turkey.
Of course, I’m not saying that newspapers should be edited for 10-year-old (and no, they aren’t already). But I have to say I was shocked that there was nothing (other than sports and we’re a nonjock household) that would even interest a basic human being: a kid. Every story was too inside politics or world affairs or too violent or too dull.
Not a good sign for the future.
: I have stayed out of the snipfest about blog ethics v. journalistic ethics here, here, here, and here because I find the topic as dull as a J-school class and because I have faced far tougher issues of ethics in the real world. Way back when, I thought ethics was all about not taking a free drink from a flack. But then I worked at Time Inc. when it became Time Warner and faced all kinds of pressure about being nice to Hollywood products; I faced pressure from higher-ups on politics; I watched my editor defend me against both. Virtue did not come out of a code; it came out of individuals’ own morals, their own sense of right and wrong and duty. A code is a fine thing; rules are harmless. But rules are worthless if the people who should be ruled by them are corrupt; an ethical person thinking ethically can face issues no set of rules can cover. In the end, the only assets we in the media have are credibility and trust and if we do anything to bring those into question, we squander everything.
Do priests need a code to tell them not to shtup little boys? No. They need morals.
Do politicians need a code to tell them not to pocket bribes? No. They need ethics.
Do journalists — on paper or on screen — need a code to tell them not to take freebies — including free information — without refusing or disclosing that? No. They need common sense.
Where am I?
: If you’re tired of Mapquest, try the newly redesigned Rand McNally.
If cool were still cool
: This would be cool: Make your own city. [via Buzz]