UPDATE (at bottom of post): Letter writer to Romenesko accuses Jarvis and Arrington of falsely accusing Damin Darlin (author of the NYT article that started this kerfuffle) of attacking bloggers.
Nothing like a battle between mainstream media and bloggers over journalism ethics to add some juicy drama to the weekend. Here’s the quick and dirty:
The New York Times runs a story taking tech bloggers (including TechCrunch) to task for running stories without verification.
TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington fires back, accusing the Times of having already made up its mind about what kind of story it was going to run before it interviewed him.
And Jeff Jarvis weighs in, declaring that “process journalism” — reporting what is known or believed to be true as it is learned — is replacing the myth of perfection, wherein reporters get the story verified beyond any doubt before packaging and presenting it to readers.
Ah, but there’s the rub: What is the potential harm in reporting what falls into a category that’s perhaps a notch or two below what is “believed to be true”? Arrington makes the argument that TechCrunch’s post on rumors of Apple being in talks to acquire Twitter was based on a previously reliable source. Furthermore, he argues, the very act of reporting a rumor is a way of verifying by beating the bushes, so to speak:
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Apple, BuzzMachine, David Cay Johnston, Gina Chen, Jeff Jarvis, journalism ethics, New York Times, process journalism, rumor, Save the Media, TechCrunch, Twitter
Jeff Jarvis often encourages his readers to think about news in the Web ecosystem as a “process,” rather than as a product. Commenting on the preview of Google Wave, Jarvis expands on that idea:
In Wave, I see more than a new generation of email cum wikis cum Twitter cum groupware. Because it can feed blog and web pages and Twitter, I see a new way to create content, collaborative and live. I see a new way to make news.
Imagine a team of reporters – together with witnesses on the scene – able to contribute photos and news to the same Wave (formerly known as a story or a page). One can write up what is known; a witness can add facts from the scene and photos; an editor or reader can ask questions. And it is all contained under a single address – a permalink for the story – that is constantly updated from a collaborative team.
Jarvis’ point about the collaborative nature of future news is echoed by Paul Gillin, writing for Newspaper Death Watch:
Posted in citizen journalism, civic journalism, crowdsourcing, investigative journalism, news industry, Online communities, Online journalism
Tagged BuzzMachine, Help Me Investigate, Jeff Jarvis, Newspaper Death Watch, Online Journalism Blog, Paul Bradshaw, Paul Gillin, The Guardian
At BuzzMachine, Jeff Jarvis says the New York Times should force the Boston Globe into bankruptcy:
[The Globe is] losing $85 million a year. They saved only $20 with recent concessions. It could bring The New York Times down. Time for radical surgery.
Speaking of bankruptcy (and layoffs, and pay cuts and out-of-print): The Wall Street Journal maps the decline of the nation’s top newspapers since 2006.
Posted in news industry, newspaper bankruptcy, newspaper cutbacks, Newspaper industry, newsroom layoffs, Out of print
Tagged bankruptcy, Boston Globe, BuzzMachine, Jeff Jarvis, New York Times, newspaper cutbacks, Newspaper industry, newsroom layoffs, Out of print, Wall Street Journal
Jeff Jarvis has an excellent post at BuzzMachine explaining, point by point, why newspapers and their lawyers are wrong to lobby the government for tax breaks, changes in copyright law and antitrust exemption. Here’s a taste of his must-read piece, on the issue of tax subsidies:
We out here don’t actually need such a subsidy because we’ve been smart enough to take advantage of the new, free press and we are not saddled with the costs of an old press. Why should we then have to subsidize the market failure and anti-strategic stubbornness of the owners of those old presses? “Congress,” they write, “could provide incentives for placing ads with content creators (not with Craigslist).” That’s just plain payola.
I’m sharing a few quotes I’ve excerpted from Gina Chen’s excellent post, “Journalists must change thinking to change industry.” Chen was inspired by Jeff Jarvis’s recent blog entry about the need for journalists to add value in their newsrooms. And while Chen frequently cites Jarvis’ What Would Google Do?, her own observations are equally compelling:
- In my experience, the hurried newsroom culture doesn’t encourage deep thinking.
Indeed it doesn’t. To give but one example: Journalists on a beat are forced to quickly write stories both large and small, with no time to step back and consider, “Is my daily routine serving my readers in the way they would — and should — expect?”
- We forget that we’re a service industry: We’re in the business of helping readers make sense of their world, not of selling them news.
And yet how many times have we read articles that are little more than notebook-dumps of information? Journalists, in the rush to make deadline, have little time but to toss half-baked, confusing stories upon their readers — readers who need knowledge, and don’t care whether we’ve included a minimum of three sources, or have written an award-worthy nut graf.
Posted in blogging, civic journalism, media criticism, news industry, Newspaper industry
Tagged BuzzMachine, Gina Chen, Jeff Jarvis, Journalism, news industry, Newspaper industry, Save the Media, What Would Google Do?
Google-lover Jeff Jarvis hasn’t been asked to speak (yet) before Sen. John Kerry’s hearing on failed newspapers. But if he were, he would say some very Jeff Jarvis-y things like:
- Newspapers and their proprietors – and, in many cases, their professionals – have had a generation to reinvent themselves and bring journalism forward into the next age: 20 years since the start of the web, 15 since the introduction of the commercial browser and craigslist, 10 since the invention of blogs and founding of Google.
- I would like to see our government follow the leads of the U.K. and Australian governments in making ubiquitous and open broadband connectivity a priority and a promise.
And, of course:
- Newspapers are going to die.
Posted in news industry, Newspaper industry, Online journalism, The Internet
Tagged BuzzMachine, Congress, Jeff Jarvis, John Kerry, news industry, Newspaper industry, saving newspapers, What Would Google Do?
The blogosphere is swift and merciless. Behold the responses to Sen. Ben Cardin’s introduction of a bill that would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits (which some already do, but never mind):
Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine):
The obvious danger is government certifying what is and isn’t news and who does and doesn’t do it. Should my blog get to be a tax-free, not-for-profit enterprise? Who gets certified? Further, Cardin’s proposal also would forbid papers as charities from endorsing political candidates. That takes more voices out of the democracy. Not good.
Tim Windsor (Nieman Journalism Lab):
If the government (the government!) starts getting in the business of propping up the fading part of journalism’s business model, forget the ethical and constitutional issues, it’ll effectively cut off oxygen to the parts of the business that are trying to innovate.
There is no one business model newspapers can turn to, writes Clay Shirky, citing historical precedence, revolutions and spooky “wait for it, wait for it” pronouncements of dramatic import:
Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.
Good going, Mr. Internet. Real smooth.
Nothing will work, but everything might. Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as craigslist did, as Wikipedia did, as octavo volumes did.
So nothing will work, but everything might. The future is wrapped in a Zen Koan. Jeff Jarvis (of course) nods in agreement: