Politics and Journalists’ Language

Why does journalism continue to fail so completely in its coverage of the outrages of Trump and the new age of American politics? Why does its language continue to provide cover for radical change, making it seem as if it’s simply business as usual? Why don’t reporters change the words they use when describing a … Continue reading Politics and Journalists’ Language

"You Can’t Quote Me!"

In the 1970s, I spent a few nice months as a reporter for a small New England daily newspaper. I loved it. Though I covered outlying school boards and town council meetings during the evenings, daytimes were devoted to feature stories. I wrote about county fairs, parks, and people. This, I thought, would be my … Continue reading "You Can’t Quote Me!"

Stephen Glass’s Ceiling

When I teach Introduction to Journalism, I always show Shattered Glass, the 2003 movie about New Republic staff writer Stephen Glass who was discovered to have fabricated quite a number of stories--or parts of stories--over his short career. I don't show it simply as a cautionary tale, but because the movie details so well the … Continue reading Stephen Glass’s Ceiling

Breitbart and O’Keefe: The Legacy

Last week, News with a View, an anthology of essays edited by Burton St. John and Kristen Johnson appeared. In it is an essay of mine, "The Pride and Reward of Falsification: Post-Objectivity as Post-Responsibility," an examination of some of the "journalism" of Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe. Two weeks and a day before publication … Continue reading Breitbart and O’Keefe: The Legacy

“Objectivity” As a Barrier to Education: Teaching Intellectual Responsibility and the Role of the Citizen

Often, when people wonder if American higher education might follow the fate of journalism, falling victim to inability to adapt to new technological milieux, they are thinking in terms of money and its impact. The financial structures of protected and centralized institutions can collapse when product becomes cheaply and widely available, both for creation and … Continue reading “Objectivity” As a Barrier to Education: Teaching Intellectual Responsibility and the Role of the Citizen

"We’re All Journalists Now"?

As Frédéric Filloux makes clear, the headline here is nonsense.  Hence the question mark.  But it is nonsense, perhaps, not for the reason he, or most who write about journalism, thinks.  It's nonsense because journalism is no longer something defined by employment and can no longer be considered a "thing."  It's a process, today, not a … Continue reading "We’re All Journalists Now"?

A Colossal Misunderstanding

Christine O'Donnell's strange exit from Piers Morgan's show on CNN made clear to me more than ever some of the collateral damage done by the "de-professionalization" of the news media over the past decade:She, like Sarah Palin, like Michele Bachmann, does not understand the role of the news media, but believes it should be nothing … Continue reading A Colossal Misunderstanding

Pro/Am Collaboration In Reporting: Is It Really Needed?

What follows is a contribution written by Aaron Barlow for a roundtable at the the Southern States Communication Association annual meeting in Norfolk, VA on April 3, 2009:Collaboration depends on acceptance of certain assumptions, of course, including that both parties bring something of value to the effort. Given that and my title, you might think … Continue reading Pro/Am Collaboration In Reporting: Is It Really Needed?

Objectivity and Its Blinders

In the premier issue of Bookmark, a new publication for supporters of the New York Public Library, is the excerpted transcript of a panel discussion held May 1 at the library. The participants were Dexter Filkins, a former New York Times correspondent in Baghdad, George Packer of The New Yorker, Dana Priest of The Washington … Continue reading Objectivity and Its Blinders

The Winchells of Journalism

One of the novels I was smitten with for a few minutes in the 1960s was Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.  Quite quickly, though, I tired of neologisms like "grok" and returned to writers with a better sense of the absurd--like Philip K. Dick, still one of my favorites.  Recently, though, I began … Continue reading The Winchells of Journalism