I’m getting bored with reporters who do very little real reporting complaining about how the Internet is destroying journalism. So is Jeff Jarvis, who’s been on the road for two and a half weeks and I guess is fed up watching CNN. Here’s a terrific blast from him:
Every day, with everything they do, the key question for journalists and news organizations in these tight – that is, more efficient – times must be: Are you adding value? And if you’re not, why are you doing whatever you’re doing?
Sitting in a hotel room, cruising by CNN the other day, I caught a behind-the-scenes segment that wanted to show us just how cool it is to be a reporter dashing from story to story. It did the opposite for me. I was disturbed at the waste.
The correspondent – I won’t pick on him; it was just his turn to play show monkey – stood in front of the new Mets’ stadium to tell us that there’s controversy about naming it after a sponsor. It was just a stand-up. There was no evidence of reporting as he was standing alone in a parking lot. The knowledge was a commodity. Anybody could have read it. But they wanted to scene and invested a correspondent and crew to get it. Then he dashed to the UN because there was a vote happening. But he didn’t run to report. He ran to the bureau to do another stand-up with another background. Again, what happened in the vote was commodity knowledge. Anybody could have read it.
So there is a reporter not reporting. But, of course, that is hardly unique to CNN. How much of the dwindling, precious journalism resource we have – on national and local TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines – goes to original reporting, to real journalism? How much goes to repetition and production?