I know we spend a lot of time here memorializing the vestiges of the golden days of print journalism, be they real or a collective wistful fiction. It would be remiss, however, to not take a second to note the parting of Daniel Schorr, one of this blog’s most respected journos, who kept his integrity and dedication to principles right up until the end. The key Schorr story is his appearance on Nixon’s enemies, of which he was unaware until he read the list live on the air. His NPR commentaries were useful and not polemical, as Senate historian Donald Ritchie said in this NPR obit:
“What passes for commentary today is almost all opinion, but Schorr was part of that breed of commentators who dug up information before they pontificated about it.”
So, in that spirt, some recommended reading of the week:
1. Mashable’s Jolie O’Dell on how (and why) to tell a journalist from a blogger. Highlights:
9. A journalist isn’t a spy or a snitch.
This is where bloggers have fucked over journalists more colossally than I can comfortably express.
A couple bloggers posing as journalists spied, snitched — and did so in a way that benefited almost no one except the bloggers themselves — and now all producers of media are painted as untrustworthy vultures.
The true journalist relies on deep knowledge of his beat, close relationships with industry experts, and dedication to his craft. He has the kind of skill that makes for a 20-year career in reporting, not the kind of childish sneakiness that makes for a one-time pageview blockbuster.
10. A journalist is passionate about journalism.
Finally, and most obviously, the journalist loves journalism. He may complain about it, but you aren’t likely to find him changing careers any time soon. He cares not just about his job but about his profession, and he will defend its ranks from the amateurs who sully it.
The blogger will invoke the word “journalism” and call himself a journalist, but he has no understanding of what those words mean. It’s one thing to wax poetic about “hard-hitting journalism.” It’s another thing to use the Inverted Pyramid, develop and adhere to a style guide, work with PR people with some kind of integrity, develop features and breaking news stories separate from opinion and editorial, and generally conduct oneself as a journalist.
A blogger touting his love for journalism is like a high school choir girl saying she loves opera: She might be sincere, but she’s got a hell of a lot to learn.
2. The BK Recessionist, Don’t hate them because they’re apathetic, on the phenomenon of Gen Yers turning down job offers at a high rate. Highlight:
But perhaps these well-educated (and, importantly, well-informed) college grads are just no longer willing to settle for the shitty hand their counterparts have played in years past. Maybe they are sick of employers taking advantage of a competitive market to expand the (already obnoxious) phenomenon of unpaid internships beyond part-time, supplemental learning experiences into full-time, full-responsibility, unpaid jobs.
I say right on, Gen Y. You may be hyperactive and cocky, but you sure know how to stick it to the man.
3. This remembrance of Schorr by NPR’s Scott Simon, which contains a great Frank Zappa appearance:
4. And, just for funblr: