Adevărul e însă că n-o duc strălucit. Lumea s-a schimbat neverosimil de când nu mai ești. Autoritatea a murit o dată cu apariția Internetului, a accesului gratuit la informație și a noilor generații, care contestă orice, oriunde, oricând.
A dispărut și meseria pe care o practicam, întrucât azi poate să scrie toată lumea – o, dacă ai vedea cum e presa azi!… – și am rămas fără slujbă. Trăiesc în continuare din scris, așa cum o făceam și în ultima ta lună, când ai admis, în premieră, că ar putea fi, totuși, ceva de capul meu. Și de cariera mea.
Television content used to be bad because it was supported almost entirely by advertising. You didn’t have to prove to an advertiser that you had good content. It was just content reaching a particular audience, and since there was little competition, everybody got to reach that audience. The content itself was an afterthought. The audience wasn’t making a conscious decision to accept or reject that content.
That’s pretty much the Web model now. (…)
So now it’s all advertising supported, and it is all dross. The quality of the content has no precise relationship to what advertisers are paying for when they buy an ad. Worse, the technological marvel of the Web allowed websites to boast that they could measure that audience, and how it responded to ads. And when it turned out that very few people were clicking on those ads, that only drove the cost of online ads down further.
Like a bakery opens because a guy wants to make bread. A tavern opens because a guy wants to serve beer to people. That’s why people start businesses. It’s because they want to do something with their time. They want that enterprise to be how they spend their days. But from an academic standpoint or from an analytical standpoint or from the standpoint of publicly held companies and investment class and everything, the reason the company started is meaningless. All they want to know is the share price going up. And for people like me that seems insane.
And it is, as we have already noted, the dailies of the cities which carry the burden of bringing distant news to the private citizen. But it is not primarily their political and social news which holds the circulation. The interest in that is intermittent, and few publishers can bank on it alone. The newspaper, therefore, takes to itself a variety of other features, all primarily designed to hold a body of readers together, who so far as big news is concerned, are not able to be critical. They go to the dazzling levels of society, to scandal and crime, to sports, pictures, actresses, advice to the lovelorn, highschool notes, women’s pages, buyer’s pages, cooking receipts, chess, whist, gardening, comic strips, thundering partisanship, not because publishers and editors are interested in everything but news, but because they have to find some way of holding on to that alleged host of passionately interested readers, who are supposed by some critics of the press to be clamoring for the truth and nothing but the truth.
There are a lot of people in this industry that staying on top at any cost and they’ll find themselves telling stories they don’t actually care about because that’s the story that somebody else wants. And that to me is like a journey into hell. And I can see how it happens and let’s face it, there’s a lot of money in this industry. So it can happen.
Tocqueville feared that the majority’s tastes and opinions would occupy every sphere of sentiment and thought. One among many illuminating examples is his commentary on democratic art. He foresaw that the majority would have no taste for portraying great human beings doing great deeds. Art used to be the pictorial representation of man’s connection to the natural or divine order to which he belongs. But in modern democracies, art would go in the direction of the majority’s tastes: it would be abstract, focused on color and shape.
Every so often, scattered amidst emails from PR folk looking for a mention in return for some behind-the-scenes handout, one drops asking for advice. Sometimes from university students, sometimes from those still in school, they share a common goal of getting into sports journalism based on a sentimental view of a bygone era of big reads and colourful characters. But the most honest reply now involves telling them to run a mile for most new jobs within sports media have become about being a cog in the machine, not a story teller.
There’s an argument that suggests sports journalism has simply become a different art when in fact it is a dying art. More and more, it is evolving into a popularity contest and a numbers’ game. For instance, a large Twitter following is more and more of a must for this generates hits, which in turn generate advertising money. But some with such followings are overworked because of that appeal, giving less time to each article, hurting standards, but gaining more Twitter followers based on being seen, allowing the vicious cycle to continue.
There can be no denying the public appetite for political sex scandals – but why is this the case? Perhaps, as Myisha Cherry suggests, it’s because we take “vicarious pleasure in the rule-breaking of another”. The actions of Sewel are reprehensible but also titillating – he is breaking rules in the most flagrant fashion and behaving in a way many of would certainly not dare to. (…)
More generally, returning once again to the ideas of Cherry, perhaps political sex scandals provide a “distraction from the tedium of one’s own difficult everyday problems”. Simple familiar escapism, then, where unacceptable sexual behaviour is punished by public humiliation – followed, in some instances, by professional ruin.
Cel mai recent proiect editorial al ultimului bastion de jurnalism adevărat, care e Gazeta Sporturilor. O colecție de investigații de impact conduse de unul dintre puținii redactori-șefi care și-au păstrat coloana vertebrală:
Asked to explain his new editorial philosophy in an early meeting last year, Ravitz had a simple message: He wanted ESPN to run the kind of stories that he himself wanted to read. (…)
Perhaps this sort of thinking seems obvious, but for a journalist, it is subtly subversive. At journalism school, students might be taught the Four Ws (What, Where, When, Why) and the six elements of news (Timeliness, Proximity, Prominence, Consequence, Human Interest, and Conflict). They are taught how to find sources, ask questions, and organize reporting into paragraphs. They are taught, in other words, to think like a serious journalist. They are not necessarily taught to think like an ordinary reader—especially an Internet reader, that omnivore of opportunity who grazes on silly lists and photos for hours, but will also sit for serious news and even block the occasional half hour to digest a 10,000-word profile.