Tag Archives: Journalism

Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘The Truth About Truthiness’

Full post here.

‘Longtime readers know that I tend to get my back up when I see journalists and academics opining that our national political divide exists because liberalism is smart and conservatism is dumb.’

Well-written and considered. There’s plenty of confirmation bias in political matters, and you could’ve easily envisioned how this research, whatever its merits, would end-up as clickbait for fellow-travelers and group-think for political/tribal/ideological advantage.

From Boston.Com Via The A & L Daily: ‘The Surprising Moral Force Of Disgust’..Roger Scruton At The New Atlantis: ‘Scientism In The Arts & Humanities’John Gray Reviews Jonathan Haidt’s New Book At The New Republic: ‘The Knowns And The Unknowns’

Rough Times For Print-From GigaOm: ‘Everything You Need To Know About The Future Of Newspapers In These Two Charts’

Extra, Extra, read all about it…on your mobile device. (Future readers, this is before the implants).

Carlos Slim is betting the brand and reputation of the NY Times will pull it through, however, enough to remain a creditor.

Some papers reach a level of prestige and influence enough to earn name recognition amongst the general public. As a result, they can muster access to those in and out of power and offer a platform for influence for those interested in influencing. These papers can shape and react to public opinion, and used to be able to fund news-gathering and investigative journalism (solely in the public interest, of course..).

Broadcasting information to the broadest audience possible and maintaining such authority ain’t happening much in print these days.

More videos?  Celebrity gossip?

Listsicles?

As for ideological and political commitments, that’s a different matter.

Who reads the newspapers?

Related On This Site: Here in Seattle, Bill Virgin says newspapers built up their value, and slowly let it die: From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? From Slate: Jack Shafer On The Pulitzer Prize-Who Cares?  Who Reads The Newspapers?

The Newseum Opens On The Mall: More From The Weekly Standard


 andertho

Newsrooms Behind The Times-Free Speech & Ideology

From Juan Antonio Giner, via Ira Stoll at The Future Of Capitalism, ‘Why The New York Times Newsroom Is In Trouble‘:

Just some suggestions, as people tend to fight more over the less there is:

‘When what the paper really needed was an editorial leader able to lead the digital revolution at full speed, not just to add new, isolated and un-integrated digital soldiers.

In other words, a modern and innovative newsroom where 80% of the journalists work for web and mobile first, and 20% for a new and slimmer print paper.’

————————-

This blog continues to support civil libertarian feminists, often ex-feminists, or even continuing feminists who criticize feminist ideology in good or bad faith because they are free to do so.  They are free to bring-up the often shoddy use of statistics by many feminists, the cultural Marxism and troubling tendencies of victimhood/oppressor theories, the controlling impulses on display in the video below.

Via David Thompson, from Canada via the Agenda with Steve Paikin, notice how two panelists just can’t bring themselves around to the idea of other people speaking their minds, thinking differently and critically, and pursuing ideas freely in an open debate.

They really don’t seem to see a problem with where the logic of their own ideology leads:  To silence and shout-down opposing points of view, to constantly try and control the speech and thoughts of others.

Michael Totten’s Vietnam Kickstarter Campaign

Link to 3:26 video here.

Totten is visiting the five remaining countries around the globe still ruled by Communist parties:  North Korea, Cuba, China, Laos, and Vietnam.

He has a Kickstarter campaign to reach the modest goal of $10,000 for the Vietnam trip.

If you like travel writing/journalism with an observant eye, some war correspondence and political/economic analysis as it relates to conditions on the ground, I recommend his work.

Donors will receive updates from his visit.  It’s a solid pitch.

Related On This Site: Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘The Once Great Havana’

Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’James Kirchik At The American Interest: 

Michael Totten’s piece that revisits a Robert Kaplan piece from 1993, which is prescient:  “A Writhing Ghost Of A Would-Be Nation”.  It was always a patchwork of minority tribes, remnants of the Ottoman Empire

I just received a copy of Totten’s book, Where The West Ends, and it’s good reading.

Repost-Andrew Potter At The Literary Review Of Canada: ‘Twilight Of The Pundits’

Full piece here.

What is a ‘public intellectual’ anyways, and how can it relate to journalism?

On a recent conference our author went to, the following was offered to journalists:

No more quoting political scientists:  It’s lazy and signals the reporter couldn’t find any other apparently neutral or objective source to talk. These people work in academics, not politics, so I’m not interested in their opinions on anything but their own research.’

This is often lazy journalism; an easy way for journalists to reinforce their beliefs and get a soundbite, while the quoted professor might receive a little flattery and perhaps star power if it happens often enough.

Potter:

‘The important thing to understand about journalists is that they are the lowest ranking intellectuals. That is to say: they are members of the intellectual class, but in the status hierarchy of intellectuals, journalists are at the bottom. That is why they have traditionally adopted the status cues of the working class: the drinking and the swearing, the anti-establishment values and the commitment to the non-professionalization of journalism.’

and on professors:

The important thing to understand about academics is that they are the highest rank of intellectuals. That is why they have traditionally adopted the status symbols of the 19th-century British leisured class—the tweeds and the sherry and the learning of obscure languages—while shunning the sorts of things that are necessary for people for whom status is something to be fought for through interaction with the normal members of society (such as reasonably stylish clothing, minimal standards of hygiene, basic manners).

The ideas of original thinkers and those of thinkers in academia often trickle down into popular thought anyways, but the easy quote is often just a way to reinforce one’s own beliefs or ideology, or get a quick fix.

Also:

‘In a philosophical debate, what everyone involved is trying to get at is the truth. In contrast, what is at stake in the political realm is not truth but power, and power (unlike truth) is a “rival good”—one person or group can wield power only at the expense of another. This is why politics is inevitably adversarial. Political power is ultimately about deciding who shall govern, and part of governing is about choosing between competing interests’

Politics ain’t beanbag.  The  pursuit of truth and thinking new thoughts is difficult, tedious and often ill-explained and poorly understood by most of the public.

Related On This Site:  From FuturePundit: ‘Low Empathy Response Makes Others Seem Less Human?’From Edge: ‘Re: What Makes People Republican? By Jonathan Haidt’Paul Krugman At The Guardian: ‘Asimov’s Foundation Novels Grounded My Economics’

So, economics is a science?: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

Given my ideological leanings, I fear an academic-government-journalism triangle of entrenched interests guiding the ship of state.  That said, nepotism, ideology, ignorance, power, doubt and truth shall carry on.  Hate Is A Strong Word-Some Links On The BBC, The CBC, & NPR

Puppy Dog Tails And Everything Nice-Some Saturday Links

Christina Hoff Sommers, the civil-libertarian feminist, or contrarian-feminist, at Time: ‘What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed:’

‘Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities.’

Clearly, many educators, especially of young children, are women (some of whom do an excellent job).  Much of our educational system is bureaucratic in nature, in an attempt to provide standards, structure and feedback to each student.  Over time, bureaucracies tend to create incentives which catch up with them (see Pournelle’s Iron Law Of Bureaucracy).  Bureaucracies often come to be controlled by the ‘company men’ within them, the people who’ve learned only how to become masters of the reef of rules, regulations, and internal procedures.  As a result, bureaucracies often come to a point where they’re no longer able to adapt to the needs of the people they serve, nor reality:  They become clunky, wasteful, and resistant to change.  Talented and well-meaning newcomers enter with high ideals, learning later… Bureaucracies can also become havens for ideological interests.

So, you’re a young boy:  You’re in an institution surrounded mostly by women teachers, run very often by women administrators (though men congregate in administrative positions), and which forms part of a large bureaucracy.  Some of the people seeking to control this bureaucracy are women who call themselves feminists, many of whom are ideologues who insist there are no differences between the sexes at all (or if there are differences, they are to be understood as women having suffered some deep injustice as both superior to men and as victims, men and boys must become victims too).

Not exactly a welcoming environment, no?

As to that feminist ideologue part.  It’s almost like they’re a religious cult:  Cathy Young At Minding The Campus: ‘Trigger Warnings–A Ludicrous Step Towards Censorship:’

‘Twenty years ago, critics such as Christina Hoff Sommers, Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, and Karen Lehrman described the bizarre “therapeutic pedagogy” in many women’s studies classrooms, where female students were frequently encouraged to share traumatic or intimate experiences in supportive “safe spaces.”  Today, at many colleges, academic therapism has spread to other fields.  Welcome to the age of the trigger warning. ‘

Do you really want these people running our institutions?

Related LinksChristina Hoff Sommers (wikipedia) is trying to replacing gender feminism with equity feminism. She also wrote The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.

Are You Man Enough? Nussbaum v. MansfieldFrom The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

A very Harvard affair: The Spelke/Pinker debate-The Science Of Gender And Science

Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?

Harvey Mansfield At The City Journal: ‘Principles That Don’t Change’

Perceptions And Reality-The News Business And Obamacare Overruns

Via Ira Stoll-Marc Andreessen: The Future Of The News Business: A Monumental Twitter Stream All In One Place.

If you’re in the information gathering and sharing business, you’d probably better understand how information is now being gathered and shared in order to broadcast it to as many people as possible (if you’re looking to make money and retain authority).

Many outlets still haven’t figured that out in the new landscape:

‘My take is that the rise of objectivity journalism post-World War II was an artifact of the new monopoly/oligopoly structures news organizations had constructed for themselves. Introducing so-called objective news coverage was necessary to ward off antitrust allegations, and ultimately, reporters embraced it. So it stuck.

But the objective approach is only one way to tell stories and get at truth. Many stories don’t have “two sides.” Indeed, presenting an event or an issue with a point of view can have even more impact, and reach an audience otherwise left out of the conversation.’

Are we back in an age of yellow-journalism, pamphleteering, and voices shouting from the rooftops? A period of unique opportunity before new and different monopolies form?

Check out an oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, from 1980 to the present, from the Nieman Journalism Lab.

Good for a laugh:-Who reads the newspapers?

———————————-

Don’t worry, the current ideological and political interests running our government are on the cutting-edge: Peter Suderman at Reason: Healthcare.gov Cloud Computer System Cost Five Times As Much As Expected:’

‘Asked about the increased cost, a federal health official tells NextGov that “if the additional services were not added urgently, the exchanges would not function as designed and citizens would continue to have issues using the marketplace.” In other words, the original plan had been for a system that wouldn’t work.’

Remember, the winners are many of Obama’s political and ideological allies and some previously uninsured people, not necessarily everyone else.

Suderman’s wife: Megan McArdle At Bloomberg. ‘Latest Obamacare Delay Is Probably Illegal

Still Looking For Alternatives-Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Obamacare vs. Arithmetic’

Avik Roy At Forbes: ‘Democrats’ New Argument: It’s A Good Thing That Obamacare Doubles Individual Health Insurance Premiums’Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Health-Care Costs Are Driven By Technology, Not Presidents’

Nicholas Lemann At The Times Literary Supplement: ‘Does Journalism Have A Future?’

Full piece here (link may not last).

The sky is falling!

Our author reviews a new book by George Brock entitled ‘Out Of Print.

Lemann finishes with:

‘The internet might end up returning journalism to a faster, more technologically sophisticated version of what it was before the advent of the commercial newspaper business’

Perhaps it ‘s useful to think of journalists as citizens who volunteer at local elections: Private citizens serving a public function.

Someone’s got to open up the church or rec center, set up the machines, tally-up the votes and make it official. Someone may even have to keep an eye on the supporters outside angling for any last vote they can, and make sure election laws are followed. Such volunteers would be doing something both civic and necessary, a little thankless, even. Unlike journalists, they would only be doing it a few days out of the year.

Now, if they were to become professionals, like journalists, they would not be on the public dime, but perhaps words like ‘democracy,’ ‘common purpose’ and ‘public good’ would be heard often as they hit the streets, hounded, rolodexed, and muckraked their way about town. Newspaper ad revenue might be enough to pay their salaries and have say, one covering the courts and police reports, another local politics and press conferences, another obits and subscriptions etc.  A columnist might be born.

This actual coverage, often local and community-based, is what is being lamented as lost in the age of internet aggregators and new technology.  No one’s hitting the beat.

Amidst such change, many journalists are wondering how noble and necessary their profession is since very few people are willing to pay them for it.

Lemann waxes nostalgic:

‘To work in a traditional city newsroom is to witness every day what is still quite an impressive industrial process. Information flows in from an enormous variety of sources, gets sorted, sifted, processed and translated into a clear, accessible form, moves onto gigantic machines for an instantaneous mass production process, and then gets physically distributed to hundreds of thousands of locations’

Technology won’t replace human experience and judgment, but if an app can do much of the above more easily and cheaply, why not let it?

At the very least, shouldn’t a professional journalistic class be expected to adjust to this new technology and provide value to readers day-in and day-out?

Privately or publicly funded, who among us can possibly hope to speak for all of the public?

Classic Yellow Journalism by malik2moon

Remember The Maine! The good old days…by malik2moon

Related On This SiteFrom io9 Via An Emailer: ‘Viral journalism And The Valley Of Ambiguity’

From The Nieman Lab:-An Oral History Of The Epic Collision Between Journalism & Digital Technology, From 1980 To The Present.

A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Could Amazon and Jeff Bezos Make the Washington Post Profitable?’…‘Sorry, Jeff Bezos, the News Bundle Isn’t Coming Back

Michael Kinsley At The New Republic Via Althouse: ‘A Q & A With Jill Abramson’

From Slate: “Newsweek Has Fallen And Can’t Get Up”

A Few Thoughts On Blogging-Chris Anderson At Wired: ‘The Long Tail’

You could do like Matt Drudge, but the odds are stacked against you.

So, You’re Just Going To Keep Blogging, Then?-From The Nieman Journalism Lab: ‘Predictions For Journalism 2014′

Full series here.

You know what they say about predictions and the future…

Jason Kottke from ‘The Blog Is Dead, Long Live The Blog:’

‘Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.’

Blogging is still a no to low-cost way to share ideas and reach an audience.  Twitter, however, (water-cooler for many a journalist) and other platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are fulfilling similar functions that made blogging such a great diving-board for many to make the leap from print.

What about virality?  No news outlet (nor marketer, really) can afford to miss out on viral content and the latest buzz, but, as Felix Salmon notes in ‘The Veracity Of Viral,’ this can raise other questions:

‘The reasons that people share basically have nothing to do with whether or not the thing being shared is true. If your company was built from day one to produce stuff which people want to share, then that will always end up including certain things which aren’t true.’

Successful sites like Buzzfeed and Gawker have managed to harness the power of viral content and the latest buzz, drawing big traffic and ad revenue, but they haven’t always figured out exactly how to connect their model with other duties that, say, your local newspaper may have fulfilled:  Actual reporting, reporters on the beat etc.

Not such a big deal, unless, of course, you’re tired of reading everyone gossiping about viral content and the latest buzz, and everyone offering their opinion on a blog by linking to other blogs (addition: a reader points out linking is fine, it’s actually many bigger outlets that troll the blogs then often don’t link back to the blogs).

This reminds me of discussions I’ve heard for years about Craigslist, EBay, and Amazon, which hover around a common theme:  Build the platform, app, or service first, and draw people away from the classified ads, flea-markets, bookstores and bring them online.  Go from there. There are niches and people to reach, but it can be hard out there for a blog.

As to journalism and the punditocracy, I’ll leave you with this quote found here, by Andrew Potter:

‘In a philosophical debate, what everyone involved is trying to get at is the truth. In contrast, what is at stake in the political realm is not truth but power, and power (unlike truth) is a “rival good”—one person or group can wield power only at the expense of another. This is why politics is inevitably adversarial. Political power is ultimately about deciding who shall govern, and part of governing is about choosing between competing interests’

Classic Yellow Journalism by malik2moon

Remember The Maine! The good old days…by malik2moon

Related On This SiteFrom io9 Via An Emailer: ‘Viral journalism And The Valley Of Ambiguity’

From The Nieman Lab:-An Oral History Of The Epic Collision Between Journalism & Digital Technology, From 1980 To The Present.

Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Could Amazon and Jeff Bezos Make the Washington Post Profitable?’…‘Sorry, Jeff Bezos, the News Bundle Isn’t Coming Back

Michael Kinsley At The New Republic Via Althouse: ‘A Q & A With Jill Abramson’

From Slate: “Newsweek Has Fallen And Can’t Get Up”

A Few Thoughts On Blogging-Chris Anderson At Wired: ‘The Long Tail’

You could do like Matt Drudge, but the odds are stacked against you.

The Top Ten Reasons You Should Read This Post-Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Lazy Journalists Aren’t To Blame For Death Of Print’

Full piece here.

McArdle:

‘No, I don’t think that our problem is that our productivity as content producers isn’t growing fast enough; it’s that print media’s value as ad distributors is falling faster than their writing productivity is growing. Baumol’s cost disease may be a problem for other industries, but for print, the problem is simply that costs cannot fall fast enough to cope with the declining value of our ads.’

As Charlie Martin pointed out, a lot of this is really just a numbers game to capitalize and monetize new technology:

‘Does that mean there’s no market for news? Certainly not, any more than the fact that reality TV is ad supported means that there’s no market for reality TV. But when Google can sell a better targeted ad for 0.00001 the cost per targeted reader, the on-paper business model is not going to survive. People who want to do news are going to need to find a model that works.’

Outlets like Gawker and Buzzfeed are finding success, generating massive traffic, and can grow longer-form journalism should they choose.  Whatever you may think of their content, these sites have found ways to capitalize and monetize the latest trends, memes and opinion.   Advertisers follow eyeballs so the entire market can be affected.

Naturally, people working in media and/or working to have influence in media have always been dependent upon technology for their relevance, so they’d better stay competitive.  Obviously, news-gathering institutions have always relied on a certain amount of sensationalism and celebrity-worship.

Yet, who’s going to fund informed, experienced, sourced journalism that takes time and money to produce?

I find myself thinking more like a populist these days:  I’d rather pay for good journalism and acts of journalism myself than have a nationalized news outlet or a few congealed outlets at the top like the days of yore.  Quixotic?  Maybe, but the quality and kind of journalism we have can very much depend on how we vote with our dollars.

For what, if anything, are you willing to pay?

Would you pay every time you read a good piece?

Would you subscribe and then forget about it for a year, never quite getting around to canceling your subscription?

Interesting reads: Nieman Journalism Lab has a neat history.  Also, if you’re getting tired of virality: Viral Journalism And The Vally Of Ambiguity.

Here’s a photo of the First Amendment on the Newseum’s facade:

Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Could Amazon and Jeff Bezos Make the Washington Post Profitable?’…‘Sorry, Jeff Bezos, the News Bundle Isn’t Coming Back

Michael Kinsley At The New Republic Via Althouse: ‘A Q & A With Jill Abramson’

From Slate: “Newsweek Has Fallen And Can’t Get Up”

A Few Thoughts On Blogging-Chris Anderson At Wired: ‘The Long Tail’

From The Atlantic: “Information May Want To Be Free. But Not Journalism”..Jack Shafer At Slate: ‘Nonprofit Journalism Comes At A Cost’From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? 

From The Economist: ‘No News Isn’t Good News’

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,345 other followers