Jul 5, 2010

Agenda journalism

In an earlier post, I stated my opinion that the Dave Weigel affair is less interesting for what it says about Weigel and the Washington Post than what it says about the inevitable celebrification of bloggers. But Joshua Benton at Nieman Journalism Lab points out that, in this case, it may be more about the role raw partisan agendas increasingly play in America's newsrooms.

Benton read through Weigel's account of his firing from the Post and picked up on the fact that Weigel is part of a class of reporters who entered journalism through internships paid by ideological groups - in Weigel's case, the Collegiate Network.

Benton writes:
I was familiar with the Collegiate Network from my own college days; it funded a conservative publication on campus, and that’s what I thought the extent of their work was. But I didn’t realize that it also pays for journalists to work at mainstream news organizations.

The Collegiate Network describes these jobs as year-long fellowships, with stipends of $24,000 to $30,000 paid by CN, and along with USA Today lists Roll Call among outlets where it’s placed journalists. Their Wikipedia page also lists a wide variety of conservative publications and outlets, but also US News & World Report. The application form also lists the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the News & Observer, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and my old paper The Dallas Morning News — although that form doesn’t differentiate between summer internships and the year-long fellowships. And based on this post, fellows aren’t just on the editorial board — they’re also writing news stories.

No comments: