Jun 24, 2008

Ramble On

Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic has an interview with Tribune innovation guru Lee Abrams. Among the items of wisdom (I paraphrase here): The best way to uphold the journalistic tradition is to break from the past. The best way to illustrate the human cost of war is for the reporter to make it more about herself. And afflicting the comfortable/comforting the afflicted probably isn't as relevant as it once was.

Here is one of the more jaw-dropping exchanges:

JG: Why were you surprised to find out that your company has reporters based in Iraq?
LA: I was in Los Angeles, sitting in this casual little meeting waiting for someone to show up, and there was this lady who had just got back from four years in Iraq, I forgot her name, I met 300 people in two days, and she was telling me about security problems, bullets in the background and all that, and it really struck me that there should be pictures of her with Iraqi children in the newspaper to show she was there. Whereas in the newspaper, it just says, “Times Staff Reporter.” I really never thought about it, that there was really a person over there going through hell to get this.
JG: It didn’t strike you that there were employees of the newspaper over there doing this work?
LA: It was just ink to me, just reading. Oh yeah, here’s what’s happening in Iraq, but then I didn’t feel the human side.
JG: So more first-person in the papers, then?
LA: I would have loved to see diaries, because what she was telling me was fascinating, living in these special secured floors of the Baghdad Hotel. It was like theater of the mind.

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