Welch eviscerates senile LAT “columnist”
Monday, April 11th, 2005
I love Welch when he’s mad at pompous torch bearers for mediocre corporate journalism. Here Matt dissects LAT columnist David Shaw’s assertions of journalistic privilege to shield laws versus the blogger rabble:
the culture of newspaper jobs is a culture of scarcity, over-editing, editorial circumspection, office politics, and both the good and bad tradition of modern-day newspapering. The culture of blogging is one of abundance, lack of editing, exuberance of expression, home offices, and both the good and bad “tradition” of a new and dynamically evolving medium. Are the differences between the two camps enough to deprive a journalism-producing weblogger the protections afforded a journalism-producing newspaper columnist? [Shaw writes]:
When I or virtually any other mainstream journalist writes something, it goes through several filters before the reader sees it. At least four experienced Times editors will have examined this column, for example.
Now there’s a walking advertisement for newsroom cuts…. Snark aside, it is not “filters” that make something “journalism,” it is the work itself. I can only speak for myself, but the act of writing without filters makes me much more careful in the treatment of facts and the truthfulness of words, because there’s no Copy Desk or Legal Department ready to vet the danger and check spelling. I’m slightly less careful only in the quality of the writing, and even then I assume that vomiting out verbiage sometimes produces net style positives compared with agonizing over every verb. Also, as someone who has written for a dozen newspapers, I’ll let the filter-awed readers in on a little secret: In every publication I’ve written for more than once, I’ve had final drafts published without so much as a moved comma. Some errors (few, thankfully) have passed through undetected, others have been edited in. Copy editing and especially fact-checking, at least in my experience, are the most overrated and wasteful aspects of modern journalism.
Read the whole thing please.
Meanwhile, academics are researching the personalities and demographics of bloggers. “We know that bloggers are not representative of Americans in general in certain respects,” Halavais says. “They tend to be younger, more urban, more educated, more technologically adept. They’re also early adopters and more willing to speak publicly about certain issues than other Americans, most of whom do not blog or even read blogs,” he adds.