Indicator Behavior and Pressures Lead to Problems in Media.
Plagiarism, adjective festooned interviews, and other cases of reporter misconduct are indicators of a dying business model.
Newspapers are not making much money so they have to be ever more scintillating to get readers away from the web and thoughtful commentaries such as one has come to expect from Aegis. Print is a dying media and it will die in several series of ill-fated gasps to attract readers. We have seen again this manifestation and again with commentators and editorialist and talking heads masquerading as journalists making the news up as they go.
I get the problem – yet the editors are oblivious. Dig in and get real news. Real news is informative – eg it helps us form our opinions – it does not give us our opinions. Journalism has become suckey – and journalists have become a bit like economists. When faced with discovering what a horse must look like – economists sit around a conference table – with thoughtfully prepared sandwiches – and decide as a committee what a horse must look like – none bother to go to the stables and take a look. (Me, I would have gone to the track.) Too many journalists sit in hotels and send someone out to see what is happening – than they sit around a table, hopefully with a decent beverage, and discuss what it means – and filter their conclusions when the bellhop they sent out returns with what he found.
When the journalists do take an initiative – they take short cuts. The phone tapping or bill busting in the UK is an example on what we may find in the future.
1.) Government though their cell phones and email were secure – WRONG
2.) Newspapers though there was print gold in them phone calls and emails – WRONG I have had the opportunity to listen to many intercepted phones calls and I must 99.99 is drivel. Painful drivel – like
Do you want to go out for dinner?
Where do you want to go?
I don’t care.
How about pizza?
I though you said I don’t care…
Yeah, but not pizza.
How about Thai?
No not that either.
arrgggh – it makes you want to take a knitting needle to the ears….
3.) Newspaper people thought they were above the law or would not be caught – maybe both. – WRONG – Reminds you of an HP executive who had the same problem. As we know arrogance is the precursor mental state just prior to being caught.
4.) The UK government has never like being criticized or exposed and this is their chance for retaliation – remember the fit tossed when they had their expenses exposed.
The US has had from time to time slop headed members of congress propose some form of trust or fairness doctrine for journalism. When congress tells us the truth, than we can move on to insuring others tell us the truth. Gad – that also assumes they know what the trust of any give matter might be!
So as this saga plays out – beware of the sub currents, print media is dying, journalism is a drift as a profession, and if you expose a government with nasty truths they will retaliate. None of this is pretty, but we are witnessing the dying gasps of a concentrated ossified industry.
How bad is it? ABC consistently blasted for using self-serving and dummied up information and speculating on people backgrounds – e.g. they got it wrong with adjectives a plenty. Or who can forget Judith Miller of the New York Times dummying up stories for which she won a Pulitzer Prize for her work / fabrications. Any quick Internet search will show all of the phony journalism going on – and that is not to be mistaken for the partisan advocacy journalists. The partisan journalism of Rachel Maddow and Bill O’Reilly and their likes – are innocent freak shows compared to the drumming falsehoods coming from other sectors.
Look like yet another reporter is can for making stuff up. A staff writer for The New Yorker has resigned and his best-selling book has been halted after he acknowledged inventing quotes by Bob Dylan.
Fareed Zakaria, Time and CNN’s star reporter suspend for admitted plagiarism!
Yet, this state of journalism and the industry was predictable… And it was predicted by many I know. As an industry looses relevance and their customer base shrinks, competition goes into hyper competition – a win at any lengths – and a mental attitude sets in as the culture of the industry shifts. Employees will go to extraordinary lengths to further their careers and help the company when under this kind of pressure. They will “do what it takes” to work for the company. It is not unique to journalism, look at unions and what they did to stay in power as their fiefdoms declined, look at the steel industry as big steel fell apart in the US.
All newspapers are especially vulnerable to OPSEC issues. The targets of the newspapers are also much more likely to be targets of journalism espionage. The newspapers will face attacks from inside from employees backbiting to get ahead. These same employees will than target story leads and do what ever it take to get the story sully their name and the institution of journalism as they implode. This is the perfect economic storm that will incentivize and for a while reward all of the lying, cheating, stealing and fabricating of information for stories.
None of this is pretty, but it is predictable.
What are other industries in contraction? What do you see as their motivators and their competitive environments? Can this state of hyper competitiveness in a contracting market be reduced to some simple technical formulas – evidencing the sensitivity to this poor behavior?