Enough already: Many folks are

Enough already
: Many folks are rightfully impressed with J.D. Lassica’s experiment with what he calls “transparent journalism.” He put up all his interviews for a story on syndicated news feeds (see his links here). Dave Winer says:

Someday all reporters will do this. Hey maybe they’ll skip writing the polished piece, esp when the article isn’t appearing in print.

ARRRGH! Noooo!

I look at J.D.’s voluminous interviews (oh, boy, did he do his homework) and I have a very different reaction: I thank God for reporters and writers who distill all this into a brief story that tells me what I need or want to know and little more. That is the value they add and I hope they never stop adding it.

When I started online news sites, lo, eight years ago, the reflex that came out of many print editors was: Gee, we can put up all the stuff we didn’t have room to print; at the end of every story we can have a line that says “for more, go online…”

Well, that didn’t work for two reasons: First, and most important, if you’re doing your job as a reporter or editor, then you should have told most people most of what they want to know in the story you just published. If you didn’t, you did it wrong. I never finish every story in the paper and I leave informationally sated; I rarely read a whole story and remain hungry for more. The second reason this didn’t work is that it takes effort to put all that material online (and also worry about whether there’s anything libelous or wrong in it).

I’m fine with reporters who have the time putting up their interviews and notes for those who really want more. But I warn you: Those will be few — often too few to justify the effort.