Thursday, 19 February 2009

What's the deal with Will?

I guess Max is value (though I hate to say it), we'll see how he gets on with 13 year old Dad. I guess good PR doesn't necessarily exist in a vacuum. Annoyingly, some of the best and most genius PR campaigns I've heard of have been on behalf of sketchy companies on a drive for 'positive' spin.

Listen... look away now if you’re in an especially tolerant and happy mood – I can’t have you ruining my upcoming rant with your rational positivity.

So there’s this guy I follow on Twitter, he’s a recent or soon to be recent graduate who’s dabbling in journalism. He writes for a regional paper and seems to be dedicated to developing a career. All good so far. He even traveled to Israel to follow and report on the elections and did a really good job of tweeting new developments with good analysis.

One of his more recent tweets links to an article he wrote that’s been published in The Jerusalem Post calling for Jews and Catholics to unite against Islamism. His argument is a little over simplistic and glosses over the complexity of the dynamics between regional players. Most problematic for me though is his use of the term ‘Islamism’, a highly contested term on a good day.

Now, do I rail against young Will who probably deeply believes in what he is saying. Or do I rail against JPost and their editors because I don’t think this article should be in a newspaper at all, I just don’t think it’s very good journalism.

The debate about bloggers becoming civilian journalists is an interesting one and I look forward to seeing it develop. Will the quality of reporting to take a dive because it’s being pushed towards the lowest common denominator? By the same token, we are seeing some excellent reporting done across a wide variety of new and traditional media that we would not have had access to as recently as five years ago.

So, what’s the solution. Can we even set a standard and, if so, what should it be based on? Should there be one at all? Should writers in any capacity be held accountable for their work?

I don’t have a clue, any ideas?


  1. I would think that the idea is to raise the bar on professional journalism because of all the latent journalistic talent (or lack thereof) being brought to the fore.

    As someone who does not have a journalism degree but always has something to say, I chant more power to the people.

    Is journalism a profession in the way that law and accounting are? I don't know. I myself am not actually a 'professional' in that sense of the word, there is no code of ethics in my industry, I have no moral guidelines to follow but my own.

    I think people should definitely be held accountable for what they say, journalists or otherwise. Everyone's entitled to their opinion sure, and I don't have to like it but if you're going to be rude, dis-respectful or downright slanderous then you should at least have the balls to hold your ground when taken to task for it. Shouldn't be a problem if you actually think about and believe in what you say right?

    Whatever the answer is, the standard seems to be slipping. I might be wrong but seems like it's not just the tabloids these days who are printing retractions and apologies especially to celebrities when they get caught publishing stories that they admit they kinda made up.

    Bit worrying in a generation who fundamentally believe that if it's on the news, it must be true.

  2. I think you have a good point there. It must mean something the The Daily Mail has higher circulation figures than The Times. Are we just getting what we're asking for? If that's the case, maybe we should be demanding more.