Archives for posts with tag: Washington Post
There’s a controversy over reporters sharing drafts of their stories with the subjects of the stories. It’s quite serious, having to do with the pressure of the 24 hour news cycle and the inability of newspapers to edit that properly, as well as the ADD of new media reporters. Ceding editing to PR people is — sue me if I’m wrong — probably not journalism’s best idea.
But as usual, the hotttttttest dirt is in the comments to the stories. This, friends, is the Paddy Chayevsky “I’m mad as hell and I ain’t taking it anymore” “Network” script of the 21st century. Imaginary sources! This takes Deep Throat to a Whole Nother Realm. This is from the comments to the story linked to. Oh! I am….slavering. …—-checking-his-facts/2012/07/25/gJQA9Yot8W_blog.html#comments

Washington Post higher education reporter Daniel de Vise.

Janis Sartucci makes the comment elsewhere, and says she is associated with a local public school parents’ association.
jzsartucci   7/25/2012 1:51 PM MDT
In 2009, Mr de Vise wrote, and The Washington Post printed, an article based on a fictitious person as if the person were real. Mr. de Vise stated that he never spoke to the person on the phone and never met the person, but completely relied on e-mails to write the story. The person was attacking a very active parent group in Montgomery County. The parent group was able to show that the e-mails were coming from a school system IP address. However, Mr de Vise did not state that fact in the article and quoted the fictitious person as if she were real. The e-mails were coming from someone within the public school system or with access to a public school system computer. Yet, the article did not have a response from the public school system to this fact. If, the writer of these e-mails was the school systems public relations department or an administrator, that means that the school system was able to trick the Washington Post into writing an article by using a fictitious parent to attack other parents. Score 1 for the public school system! But, what does this say about The Washington Post and their fact checking?
The following is the only good argument I’ve seen for sharing drafts, and I’d love to hear more from Tom Ricks on how to use the technique to extract quotes from the unindicted co-conspirator Rumsfeld’s spokesmodels at the Pentagon:
And others stand by it, including Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews and former Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks, now a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He writes the following thumbs-up via e-mail:

[W]hen I was at the Post, I used to e-mail drafts to sources all the time. I never felt like I was subjecting myself to pressure. Rather, I used it to pressure sources, especially recalcitrant or hostile ones — which pretty much described the people around [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld. I would say something like, “Here is where I am going. Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

I saw nothing wrong with the practice. It showed sources that I was serious about getting it right — and also would go to press whether or not they cooperated. It often resulted in getting more facts and more accuracy. I think the practice should be encouraged.

Technorati’s top ten websites 5.7.12.

The Washington Post lost $22 million in its last quarter, are aggressively buying out senior, rain-making, prize-winning reporters, and apparently turning the newsroom into a click-thru sweatshop, complete with a screen recording story hits in real time.

The bigfeet reporters are worried.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting rid of expensive old reporters and replacing them with young ones.

I do think there is a difference between the clickhound journalism of Gawker or The Mail Online, however, and reporters.

News is curated for the public good. You need to keep your eyes on the prize. I think the public good is high, if not universal, voter turnout, and the journalism version of Friday Night Lights. Grassroots issues and community.

The Washington Post needs to figure out what that prize is, and cover the two local industries they have — U.S. politics and Chocolate City — with what I’m thinking of as Freakonomics Politico, a journalism paradigm for the 21st century. I think the old avatar of Freako Politico is Mike Davis, the Marxist. His City of Quartz is probably the very best Holy Shit Story of his generation, as Steven Levitt (I am still checking him out) may be of his generation.

Everybody knows from writing their own blogs what gets the most clix. Use the word porn in your headline and your clix will increase 20 fold.

I once posted a photograph to Flickr of the weird python-like process of creating and stuffing a cloth doll. I called it Getting Stuffed. It got nearly a thousand hits in two hours until I changed the headline. In 10 years of blogging privately, this Getting Stuffed photograph was my greatest hit in what we shall call, for journalism curriculum purposes, the Scandanavian Christmas Elf Tomte Syndrome:

Getting stuffed.

So the perfect capitalist tool of a newspaper, as WaPo president and general manager Steve Hills  seems to have told the senior reporters, to maximize the website, would be 10 rainmakers, 1,000 clix drones, and the words “Getting Stuffed” in every headline. Today’s lede stories in the NYT:

At Cusp of Major Power, Bo Xilai Gets Stuffed by Own Hard Tactics

A Scramble as Biden Gets Stuffed on Same Sex Marriage

Stock Trading Is Still Getting Stuffed After ’08

Hollande Calling for ‘Get Stuffed’ Amid Cuts in Europe

Even more trenchantly, for the clix hix, this minute’s top four most e-mailed stories from the NYT:

For the Hard of Hearing, Clarity Out of the Getting Stuffed

When Illness Makes a Spouse Get Stuffed

Those Getting Stuffed Europeans

Black Women and Getting Stuffed

Stephen P. Hills, ad guy, Harvard B School, former San Mateo, CA sports reporter. President and general manager of The Washington Post.

Good luck with that. Other newspapers are making it online, as the Technorati top ten screen cap shows. Why can’t the Post?

One, no one in the national and international audience a website is going for is interested in the politics they cover or the way they cover it. Stop being provincial.  Let Politico do that for the local wonk readership; they like it, they’re good at it, let the tiny niche wonk market go.

Two, The Root D.C. is not a substitute for covering The Post’s other great franchise, Chocolate City. Last I checked, the demographics for black people in the D.C. metro area were that they were the best-educated, richest per capita black people in the U.S. and probably in the world. The Post’s new Root D.C. website is attempting real time coverage of the grassroots issues for people of color the world over inherent in the local coverage of Chocolate City. There never was a story like the D.C. riots, which the late Bob Maynard, the founder of the Maynard Institute, covered for The Washington Post wearing his clogs. There never was a story like Marion Barry or the suburbanization into redneck Prince George’s County of D.C.’s upwardly mobile Talented Tenth.  I’d simply like to point out to you that Ron We’re-an-empire-now Suskind, one of the great Freako Politico reporters, won his Pulitzer prize in The Wall Street Journal, telling the story of one black kid trying to get though the D.C. schools and into the Ivy League. And The Wire, recently voted the best TV show of the last 25 years by New York magazine, was set in inner city Baltimore and written by a Baltimore reporter.

Eyes on the prize, Hills. You’re not from around here, are you? Get George Pelecanos to give you some story ideas.

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