The story is a great read.
And for journalists – true, capital-J-on-your-chest, I-can-recite-the-SPJ-Code-of-Ethics journalists – this is also terribly disheartening.
This is what we’re up against.
For better or worse, we can get our “news” from sources that go beyond the traditional (or “legacy,” as I like to call them) media outlets.
I am not ashamed to admit, I love me some Daily Show with John Stewart and what was the Colbert Report. First of all, their archive and research department is insane. As a former investigative and data reporter, the number of clips they dig up that add context and show patterns of (in)consistency makes me drool. Second, under the guise of satire, there’s a whole heck of a lot of fact. The hosts (“anchors”) and correspondents (“reporters”) can add perspectives (opinions?) true by-the-book unbiased journalists can’t.
But when, as in the case of Charles C. Johnson, news consumers are treated to false information, and flat-out lies – without correction, without remorse – all for clicks and notoriety, to say it’s frustrating is an understatement.
I don’t know of any newsroom that is not asking its journalists to do more with less. All while multiple deadlines across platforms with diminishing resources (and salaries) loom daily.
For longevity, it’s not longer sufficient to simply do a darn good job – you must “build a brand.”
Who is to blame? Technology – for giving us more outlets from which to get information? Consumers – who don’t take the time to check the credibility of their “media” outlets? Managers – who demand clicks and name recognition over enterprise and solid reporting? Media companies – bleeding money, desperately seeking revenue? “Journalists” – who’d rather take selfies on scene and post flashy hashtags than report?
None, some and all are probably the correct answers. And here is where I channel my inner cheerleader: to you true journalists, don’t let this stop you from doing your due diligence!
Persevere! Credibility is key. Journalism isn’t just a job – it’s a calling.
This blogger – and others more interested in exposing their brand and notoriety – may become recognizable. And eventually, so will his factual errors and seemingly callous attitude towards the damage they’ve caused.
If you wanna be famous – go on reality tv. Hire an agent. Hire a stylist. Hire a good plastic surgeon and make up artist. Marry – divorce – someone famous.
And I beg of you, please stay out of the way of us JOURNALISTS so we can continue to hold the powerful accountable. Give voice to the voiceless. Inform, enlighten and compel viewers, surfers, and readers.
Victoria Lim is a multi-platform journalism pioneer, newsroom trainer and educator; Frappacino fan and chocoholic. You can reach her @VictoriaLim on Twitter.