Mar 25, 2010

Misery's company

Maybe you were up late last night obsessively going over your lede in your head, or wondering if the verb you chose to describe a politician's decision on a controversial item truly captured the audacity of the moment without stepping over a line.

Was it an "avenue" or a "boulevard"? Was he accused of three felonies or four? Should that quote have gone higher up in the story?

Well, Jack Shafer at Slate does a good job describing something that most non-journalists don't get about the job and it's worth sharing. It's from a piece on Politico and The Atlantic publishing a memo they could not authenticate.
Not to let Politico and the Atlantic off lightly, but show me a journalist who has never published something he later regretted, and I'll show you a piker or a liar. The conscientious journalist—no matter whether he does his work on the Web, in print, or via broadcasting—goes to sleep every night with the dread, boiling in his belly, that he didn't check this thing or that thing closely enough before he filed his story.
Enjoy the glamor, citizen journalists.


Anonymous said...

That's great reading. But ...

the majority of "citizen journalists" won't get it, don't get it and most likely don't really care if they get it wrong or bury the lede or misquote the source.

It's all about the page views. "F" all else.

Anonymous said...

Just wait for the first big libel suit against a "citizen journalist" with no corporate legal staff to back them up.