In early January, New York media-and-culture pulsefinder Gawker.com ran a couple of posts on the subject of lazy journalism. Chief among today’s lackadaisical newswriters’ offenses, apparently, is “crowdsourcing,” or using social networks such as Twitter to solicit quotable anecdotes for softcore personal-interest features. You know, asking the world if anybody ever grabbed a bag off the airport luggage conveyor that looked like theirs but wasn’t, or if anybody’s dog ever barked the family out of a dead sleep when it smelled fungus turning to fire inside the walls, or whatever.
The message was that these journalists should be cultivating knowledgeable sources about important news, rather than begging the huddled masses for a ready-made story about someone who once made a crepe that looked a little like Roy Orbison.
And now there’s all this talk about Pulitzer Prize-winner Alex S. Jones’ book Losing The News. It’s about how, as the old-school news industry struggles both to participate in and compete with new media, fact-based watchdog journalism is being crowded out by gossip reporting, biased presentation, fluff, personality-driven delivery, thinly veiled advertorial and the kind of opinionated, attitude-laden superficiality represented by stuff like, well, this column, really.
Frankly, I don’t see the problem.