New Assignment Q&A

Jay Rosen is probed by Slashdotters on New Assignment. Good reading.

  • ZF

    Rosen was asked about what should be done to “enhance the respect internet journalists receive in the world at large?” and responded with an extended anti-Bush rant. If this is the new journalism 2.0 then it’s instantly recognizable as the old journalism in drag.

  • You lied. To that part of the question I responded this way:

    You know how, when you’ve really mastered something and there’s a news account of it, the news story will invariable get several (basic) things wrong? Eliminate the several things and respect will rise. If you want to inform the world of something, grok it before you rock it is a good simple rule.

    Correct ourselves early and often. Correct the reporting in the major media, early and often. Fact check your own ass first, then your neighbor’s. We should major in transparency; the “major” media will take a minor in that. Diversity of outlook in the reporters ultimately improves the reporting. The blogosphere has advantages there, especially as it does more reporting.

    I think we have to accept that Big Media, which isn’t going anywhere, is society’s default legitimacy-distribution machine. But that doesn’t mean it works well. The machine itself can lose legitimacy without exactly falling apart. If you’re an upstart publisher of news and you suck at it, Big Media will try to ignore you. If you’re an upstart publisher of news and you’re really good at it, Big Media will try to ignore you. Then when you assume the shape of a writes-itself story–first bloggers to go to the political conventions!–Big Media will over-cover you, spreading a small bit of understanding over lots and lots of stories. Six months later it’s time to debunk the trend they missed, then over-hyped and finally misdescribed. It’s not personal. It’s protective. It’s also cheaper than figuring out what’s going on.

    We can win a lot of points for Net journalism just by being the opposite of that.

  • “You lied,” Rosen accuses, hyperbolically.

    ZF may not have told the whole truth when he misconstrued Rosen’s extended preamble to his answer as the answer itself — a preambled concerning “an Administration that had broken through all the reality checks normally placed on a president and his closest aides.”

    But Rosen does not tell the whole truth either when he omits telling us here that the preamble ZF misconstrued does exist, and that it does indeed “rant,” as ZF accurately observes, against the Bush Administration for a relentless, attacking style that was beyond the grasp of a credulous Bob Woodward.

    By the way, Rosen’s rant is one I find persuasive and has been exhaustively, and entertainingly, argued at his PressThink. It is well worth the read, ZF, despite Rosen’s intemperate tone against you.

  • Maybe Rosen should have replied “You deceive,” instead of “You lied.”

    Less than the whole truth decieves. And when you combine “less than the whole truth” with opportunism you end up with something much worse than lying. IMHO that’s old journalism and a lot of blogging.

    I think Rosen is proposing a lot to keep his new creation from becoming “old journalism in drag.” (“Fact check your own ass first” is pretty good, both specific and measurable, as is his definition of “competent paraphrasing”) Not perfect, but a big step in the right [correct] direction.

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