Amateur Hour

Kim Cameron takes a blunt instrument to Andrew Keen’s tantrum disguised as a book. Keen is just one a large number of people bemoaning their loss of clout as the old media fades in relevance.

The real irony is that while Keen and his ilk are criticizing the quality of citizen journalist, the quality of “professional” journalism has probably never been lower. Jack Shafer points this out with an article about a study of news paper accuracy that is really not all that surprising:

The results might shock even the most jaded of newspaper readers. About 69 percent of the 3,600 news sources completed the survey, and they spotted 2,615 factual errors in 1,220 stories. That means that about half of the stories for which a survey was completed contained one or more errors. Just 23 of the flawed stories-less than 2 percent-generated newspaper corrections. No paper corrected more than 4.2 percent of its flawed articles.

Obviously, a newspaper can’t publish a correction until it learns of its error. But the studied dailies performed poorly when informed of their goofs. Maier found that 130 of the news sources reported having asked for corrections, but their complaints elicited only four corrections.

Keen, please remind me again who the amateurs are?

Then there was this editorial in the NY Times article about US Army suicides:

… But that’s to care for them as human beings, under that other constitutional right – to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To those of you who have degrees in journalism, there might not seem to be anything wrong with this. The rest of you probably know that the bit about life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is from the US Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Thus by definition it’s not a constitutional right.

Finally last week we had this sad reminder of one of the most despicable acts of the old media. They collectively ruined a hero’s life for the sake of ratings.

(Mirrored from TalkBMC)


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