Journalism means balancing the silly, serious

Posted: March 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , | View Comments

Anyone who knows me can tell you there are a few topics I love talking about, regardless of the circumstances. There’s beer, of course, and my belief that The Fifth Element is one of the best sci-fi movies of all time.

But at the top of the list, much to the chagrin of all my friends, is journalism.

That’s why I’ve been so thrilled to be a part of two different panels over the past year on the future of journalism. Even more than talking about journalism, I love learning about journalism, and panels like these never fail to teach me something new, whether the audience is filled with PR professionals or college journalists. It proves that the intellectual weight at any of these discussions is always heavily skewed toward the audience.

The two most valuable points I took from a recent panel at the Society for Collegiate Journalists‘ 2010 Biennial Convention came from UNC Chapel Hill Professor Paul Jones.

One point provides some validation, the other requires a change in my vocabulary. Read the rest of this entry »

In defense of CNN and process journalism

Posted: September 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , | View Comments

cnn_failBack in June, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch got into a bit of a spat with The New York Times’ Damon Darlin over an article disputing the trustworthiness of many popular blogs.

Arrington’s claims sparked an interesting discussion on “process journalism,” a technique that essentially boils down to telling the reader what you know and don’t know in almost real time.

Friday, as outrage grew over CNN’s reporting of a Coast Guard training exercise on the Potomac near the site of the president’s 9/11 anniversary speech, the Nieman Journalism Lab asked an interesting question on Twitter.

In tweeting “suspicious boat…shots fired,” @CNN was practicing what we call process journalism, right?

As a cynical, newspaper-trained journalist and the proud son of a retired Coast Guard master chief, my gut reaction was to flame CNN.

What ever happened to verification? Responsibility!? The truth!? Basic Journalism!?!?

But the lab’s question made me stop and think. Read the rest of this entry »