Bad Journalism in Any Medium

I agree with this comment, though:

WHO gets to tell their story?
The subjects or the (privileged, white albeit female) observers? If the
answer is the observers then this can only be exploitation. Voyeurism
which gives white people yet another excuse to hold the Other at arm’s
length while all the while assuming they know what they are about…
basic, Nanook of the North stuff, really.

Because
it’s a pretty basic fucking rule of journalism that you are not the
story. You may be telling the story but it’s not your story, so get the
fuck out of the way. You are there to tell the stories of others, not
to tell the story of you telling the story of others. If you don’t know
the difference, read more journalism. Read good stuff, lots of it, and
then emulate it. Or go back to school. Save the stories about you in
the new place for your mom. She’s the only one who cares.

I get so insane about this kind of thing because it’s such
a wasted opportunity. You have unbelievable access to a family’s story,
institutional backing and an audience some bloggers would kill for. And
you use it to talk about this?
That’s what you get out of the experience, that’s what you give your
readers? What massive fail.

The
other reason I get so insane about this shit is that it’s bad
journalistic precedent and it’s usually taken as trend rather than
aberration by media critics. The fact that Knight is supporting this makes ne nuts. And it’s just
going to provide one more example for old-media assholes to use to dump
on everybody on the Interwebs, and talk shit about young girls being
unable to do serious work. As if the demographic is the problem and
not, you know, individual people being idiots and having never had an editor smack the shit out of them for being masturbatory in print.

It’s just bad journalism. And what’s more, it’s not even original bad journalism.Being
a self-indulgent tourist in your own goddamn world is something
newspaper columnists PIONEERED. I mean, I read crap like this in the
Tribune all the time
, when they send reporters to parts of the city
that aren’t Wicker Park or Bucktown and they act like anthropologists,
observing the creatures in their natural habitat. What’s more they make
the unconscionable assumption that nobody in these places they couldn’t
even spell before they got there reads their paper or would take
offense at being described like animals on a safari.

This
“watch me live among the strangoids” narrative device creates distance
and allows the audience to pretend they’re not the same as us, we’re
not the same as them, our fate is not your fate. When the entire
purpose of your time on this earth and your job as a reporter, as a
witness to the world, is to do the exact fucking opposite.

GRRR.
A.

6 thoughts on “Bad Journalism in Any Medium

  1. Note says:

    The two girls who are living with the family also don’t claim it’s journalism. The Entrway as it exists right now is just their personal story. They are upfront about that.
    Also Knight isn’t supporting this. Spot.Us has put money into a pot that the girls hope to use to fundraise so they can do original reporting that will not feature them but tell the story of those in the neighborhood.

  2. grrljock says:

    @Note, the site is called “The Entryway. Two Reporters Move Into A New America”. So yeah, this is supposed to be journalism. And why does it take 2 of the whitest of white people to tell the story of MacArthur Park, anyway?
    It’s amazing to me how offensively clueless these 2 women are. Ugh.

  3. Adrastos says:

    You sound like you’re grinding your teeth, A. And that’s…okay… Trying to be Stuart Smalley and failing.

  4. MapleStreet says:

    “Because it’s a pretty basic fucking rule of journalism that you are not the story. You may be telling the story but it’s not your story, so get the fuck out of the way”
    I wish you could shout that from the housetops. While living on the SE coast, everytime a hurricane came through, we were deluged with “reporters” who spent 1/2 the time on the fact that they were there and 1/4 of the time on useable information.
    Local TV news announcers seem to have picked up that the story is that they are reporting on the story.

  5. mark robbins says:

    But the story is that the story is being reported, snapping wave-forms into place and creating reality.
    It’s the quantum theory of journalism.
    If they didn’t report on it, it wouldn’t exist.

  6. Lauren says:

    I had to stop at the first entry and boiling water for her “charcoal face mask.” WTF?

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