New journalism, same purpose

*Note: Many of the posts filed under “Journalism and Democracy” are part of the capstone course. They will mostly cover many of the topics we discuss in class.

I couldn’t help but keep coming back to one of the ideas from Kovach and Rosenthal.

“Every generation creates its own journalism. But the purpose, we have found, is the same.”

I think we can clearly see this with developments in journalism over the past 5-10 years. While many of the ways people get their news and ways the news is reported have changed, the purpose, to some extent, has been the same. This is one of the hardest things for young journalists to remind themselves of — the idea that journalism’s techniques may change with new technology, but we need to continually remind ourselves what journalists are there for. Many of those reasons fall under the nine elements.

But what is interesting, is how some of the boundaries that guide journalism and the ethics that come along with it, are always pushed. With the rise of blogs and ready access to information, I think sometimes journalists forget the basics due to other interests. Those interests can be corporate/business related (As with NBC and ABC News); publicity related (Here is where conflicts with advertising revenue can come in to play); related to sensationalism (I’m thinking the Manti Te’o story here); or related to immediacy (i.e. the misreporting done in the Supreme Court healthcare ruling.)

In many of these cases, we can see where the ethics of journalism have been strained, or in the case of Manti Te’o, the fundamentals of journalism were not carried out to the best of their ability. What I liked most from Deadspin’s editor-in-chief was his comment in reaction to the Boston Globe calling the website an outlet not regarded for its journalistic standards. I don’t think Tommy Craggs could have had a better response:

“Whatever. Why should I care what a craven, slipshod outfit like the Boston Globe thinks of my ‘journalistic standards.’”

I have to concur with Craggs here. Deadspin broke the story all other news outlets should have. Those are news outlets that I’m sure believe hold themselves to ‘journalistic standards’. Yet here, they clearly dropped the ball. So why can’t Deadspin be regarded as a reputable journalistic institution? Is it because it has published material a newspaper may not have? (i.e. the Brett Favre and Jenn Sterger relationship.)

As a result, people were turning to Deadspin to read about Te’o and Favre. Not ESPN or the Boston Globe. So why, even after the Te’o story, may Deadspin be thrown to the wind again and disregarded in the journalism world? I don’t think it should. It’s another example of the rapidly changing journalism world we live in today. More non-traditional outlets will be disregarded at first, only until they break a story like Manti Te’o.

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