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Poll results: Rank your faith in the profession of Journalism

Voters
47. You may not vote on this poll
  • True professionals

    0 0%
  • Mostly competent

    3 6.38%
  • A mixed bag

    29 61.70%
  • Mostly lazy SOB's

    12 25.53%
  • Bastards All!

    1 2.13%
  • I have another opinion.

    2 4.26%
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Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: POLL: The current state of Journalism as a profession.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    POLL: The current state of Journalism as a profession.

    Is anyone else out there as let down by what passes for journalism these days as I am? After working in the public sector for a decade I can't help but observe that the vast majority of the journalism work product I encounter is not only poor, but a simplistic diservice to the public. I know a few good journalists. I've read a few good stories that covered a complex subject well, but I cannot count the times I've had to spend hours with citizens correcting a public perception that resulted from poor journalism, sensationalism, or just lazy reporting.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Do local television news broadcasts count as journalism? Someone once told me they do, but around here, it's nothing but lobotomized drivel.

    Our local newspaper does a pretty good job, but could be more in depth. I've read many stories of planning and development decisions in which I've had a hand in, and for the most part, they get the big picture stuff correct. It's the details that seem to get lost.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I went with "mixed bag". I've seen some really good journalists but I've also seen plenty of awful ones. Doesn't really matter if it's local or national, well-paid or poorly-paid. Some journalists are true professionals who are non-biased in their reporting and take their work seriously and others are true d-bags who are either too lazy to do their job and be ethical or have an agenda to push.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    My perception is that the problem isn't with journalism, per se, but instead with the shift to electronic media. That move, along with the heavy ownership of media outlets by the entertainment industry, has trivialized journalism and made reporters into schills for advertising.

    Sweeping generalization: We're all to blame too because we'd rather be given the quick answers via television or the internet than take the time to read, analyze, and come to our own conclusions.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    We are a far cry from the days of Edward R. Murrow.

    I wonder, though, what we would call the Golden Age of Journalism if ever such an age existed? News now tends to focus on much more 'fluff' than we would have seen 50 years ago. Back then there was much less emphasis on ratings and much more emphasis on reporting 'important' events. At the same time I'd also have to concede that yellow journalism was alive and well both then and now.

    I voted mixed bag - important stories are still being covered but we are deluged with cotton candy.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    I've "trained" two journalists at our local newspaper -- one with little success (though she feared me so she thought twice about yellowing her stories) and the other quite well. Regrettably, he has moved on to a larger east coast paper and I'll have to train yet another young pup.

    Mixed bag for me.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    My perception is that the problem isn't with journalism, per se, but instead with the shift to electronic media. That move, along with the heavy ownership of media outlets by the entertainment industry, has trivialized journalism and made reporters into schills for advertising.
    I think journalism has always focused on the controversial. Looking at newspapers over the years, you see this. Yellow journalism did lead us into the Spanish-American War. Controversy has always been a way to sell newspapers, which means ad space. Electronic made this worse because the only thing they sell is ad space. It is a business after all.

    Journalism does have it's good points when it focuses on problems that are hidden. Once exposed, it call rally the people to action. Further, it can keep people honest by threatening exposure. Journalism also helps define the collective reality by providing information that is plugged in.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Until recently, my younger sister worked as a journalist for time.com in DC (they re-assigned her to New York where she would do website management at no change in pay, so she took a severance instead).

    She has complained that print journalism is now heavily dependant on blogging, which she despises. It's no longer the quality and relevance that's important, but rather the frequency of posting personal opinions onto the internet. Letters to the editor have been replaced with online responses to articles written by journalists, which can easily question the integrity of the original writer if opinions differ significantly. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can damage your career as a journalist.

  9. #9
    Everyone has a slant depending on their coroporate affiliation, ecept for independants...IMO. I love to read/watch the news but I ALWAYS draw my own conclusions as to what it means to me or what the affects of each story are, knowing that information may well be withheld, embellished, etc...

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    I know a few things really well. When I read news or feature articles about those topics, they are inevitably filled with errors, and sometimes political spin. Therefore, I have no choice but to assume that all other news has the same quality and fairness standards, i.e. none.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo View post
    ...I cannot count the times I've had to spend hours with citizens correcting a public perception that resulted from poor journalism, sensationalism, or just lazy reporting.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    I picked lazy SOBs. Now, I haven't had many experiences with the media in my current job, but at my last one, I have had to correct numerous statements and stories. Hell, half the time the reporter had written the Planning Commission wrap-up without attending the meeting--just reading thwe agenda online.

    Like a cocky athelete, I am very picky with how I deal with the media. It got to the point where I would only accept questions via email and then answer them in writing. That way i have a record (which I have had to refer back to later...)
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  12. #12
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    I think a lot of it is the snapping up of most newspapers, etc by very large companies looking to "eliminate redundancies". We used to have dozens of newspapers with bureaus around the country and world - now? Of course it's more profitable to have one person reporting the news that is printed in ten newspapers, but just losing those "people on the ground" leads to fewer stories being done, and less competition to get the best story out there.

    One thing I miss - seeing the "local spin" on a story in Florida or Africa or Switzerland or DC.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Having been a member of the Fourth Estate, I will add my observations. Journalism is like any profession, in that there are people who are very good, most are okay and some suck at it. Same with planners.

    When talking to the press, you have to keep a few things in mind.

    Number one is they listen to what you say. If you don't tell them what you mean, they will not get it right, because you did not get it right.

    Number two, say what you mean to say and NO MORE.

    Number three, nothing is really off the record. They may not put it in their story, but they won't forget it and it may come back to haunt you, especially if you are gossiping about what a weasel so-and-so is.

    Number four, they are not planners. They probably don't really understand the job you have very well. If you leave gaps and expect common sense tot fill them in, you are likely to see someting in the paper or on the TV you didn't expect.

    Number five, if you get unjustly treated by a reporter, go to the editor with your complaint. Your department often is placing legal ads regularly and that is an income generator for that paper. Newspapers don't like for their advertisers to be unhappy.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  14. #14
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I chose a mixed bag.

    In my neck of the woods, I've found that the print media generally does a good job in terms of presenting the facts, without too much bias.

    I've found that if you approach the journalists first, you are well ahead of the game. Don't let the journalists respond to a potential story. Rather, you be the one to create the story, before they have the chance to put their spin on it, or hear the opposing (and often incorrect) viewpoint.

    Just like with any profession, there's politics involved. You'd think as planners we would understand this and respond accordingly.

    That being said, to answer more directly eG's question, I think that overall, journalism is evolving into into a blog-oriented, self-serving profession. I rely on probably a dozen or so print and electronic media sources just to make sure I'm getting all the sides of the story. And that isn't how it should be.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    Number three, nothing is really off the record. They may not put it in their story, but they won't forget it and it may come back to haunt you, especially if you are gossiping about what a weasel so-and-so is.
    That's the very most important thing to remember. You should repeat it over and over.
    Navy collier
    USS Cyclops

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I have my complaints about print media, but its the local news that makes me pray for the soul of mankind. Leading off coverage with stories about American Idol is not journalism. Most of them should be forced to label themselves "news-entertainment" broadcasts or something like that.

    Not to sound like an annual pledge-drive, but this thread does make me appreciate PBS.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup.....

    For all of the reasons above......I now get my world and US news from the Economist. The Christian Science Monitor is still....amazingly (if you don't read the editorials) a fantastic paper! (not a member of that church)

    From Wikipedia:
    "The Monitor's inception was, in part, a response by Eddy to the journalism of her day, which relentlessly covered the sensations and scandals surrounding her new religion with varying degrees of accuracy. In addition, Mark Twain's blisteringly critical essay Christian Science stung Eddy particularly, and according to many historians led Eddy to found her own media outlet.[1]

    Eddy declared that the Monitor's mission should be "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind." Since its founding, the paper has won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism seven times. It is particularly well known for its in-depth coverage of the Middle East, publishing material from veteran Middle East specialists like John K. Cooley."
    Skilled Adoxographer

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    I have my complaints about print media, but its the local news that makes me pray for the soul of mankind. Leading off coverage with stories about American Idol is not journalism. Most of them should be forced to label themselves "news-entertainment" broadcasts or something like that.
    Amen, and amen. Mrs. Bubba generally has the TV tuned to one of the local morning news broadcasts (for traffic and weather) while we're getting ready for work. I hear her mutter "why is that news?" at least once a morning. And don't get me started on the fear-mongering "special investigative reports" they run during sweeps...
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

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