Thinking about old-school journalism…like five years ago.
Had a chat with a coworker of mine the other day. He had run across a book–or I should say had run across a blog post about a book. The book was about how the Internet (and some other present-trends) was leading us to become less intelligent. The book-to-blog summary described how people could glean a few surface details about a subject, digest them quickly and move on, thinking they knew enough about a subject.
Not unlike this blog–or blogging in general, I suppose.
And it got me thinking. At first, of course, as a champion of all things current and now, I grew a little defensive. I cited the arrival of the 24-hour news cycle and the obsession with the 7-second soundbite in our political spheres as equal measures of evidence toward such a shallowing of the pool of human thought. But I suppose the Internet and social media had its share of the blame for things. So I relented in my stance that finger-pointing should continue. Blogs vs. lazy journalism vs. business, etc.
Then yesterday I had the chance to meet with a veteran newsman–an Air Force public affairs chief master sergeant. Veteran in terms that he had pre-dated the official arrival of social network in our professional spheres–a feat most of us qualify for, as it’s only been less than a decade since journalism was more like the Fourth Estate of centuries past and not like the Bieber-entranced drool machines of late. Not “veteran” in terms of being old or any veiled insult that readers may imply while scanning over these words.
Veteran in that I respected his experience, and he, mine. We talked a bit about how the Web has made a lazy bunch out of many military journalists. How, apart from any undue shaking of fists at the arrival of the present, the past’s reliance on newspapers–replete with deadlines and gruff editors, forced writers to produce. And what’s more, to produce works people would wish to read. And in timely manners, no less.
This editor friend of mine talked in examples about how, when in times past, covering sports or certain VIP visits to bases, he would have to rush back and spend some evening hours to hammer out stories. And since these stories often HAD to appear in that week’s paper, there was often not time to parade versions and opinions around. The slightly-olden journalist had to get it right the first time. Thinking to now, some five-10 years later, he described how his staffs leisurely get around to posting stories occasionally. Since the Web is always there, things lose a sense of urgency. Also, since it was so easy to change content, my editor friend described what I’ve heard from a dozen other journalists as story “coordination”. In this lovely phenomenon, stories are emailed around to a small army of would-be critics, who quibble and gripe about every noun, phrase and piece of jargon–a kitchen full of chefs, cooking stew.
So many journalists, because of the time-intensive nature of coordination in military journalism, get around to maybe posting a story every week or so.
The point is, apart from the numbers, where people can argue and say they are better because they post more…
…the point is, the web may have cheapened our ability to produce and or think to the level we ought.
Military journalists often don’t have to think through their work because they realize a half-dozen writers are going to weigh in on their words anyway. So why try? Digital cameras let people “spray and pray” that a good photo comes out of a batch of 1,000, rather than carefully choosing when to let loose an exposure on a painfully short roll of film.
And the pundits, bloggers, writers…we can spout out a billion entries across a billion blogs every day, but to what end, eh? The person with the best 7-second soundbite wins anyway, because who has time to actually get to the meat of a thing? Who has time to think about the impact of words and sentiment?
I might end up buying that book. Seems to be worth looking into, rather than just spouting off a few ‘graphs and moving on.
About salemonzBorn in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.
Hey there! I'm a former Army print journalist and DoD social media zealot. I spend my days in the public relations and marketing worlds, chatting about technology and working on fun side projects.
I write, dance and do most things.
- Ruthven78 🐟 (@ruthven78) on Sometimes, let people be wrong
- Ruthven78 on Sometimes, let people be wrong
- FreyaFyre on Sometimes, let people be wrong
- Abbey on My utter failing as a human as told by my lawn
- Salmons on My utter failing as a human as told by my lawn
- salemonz on This is my bag. There are many like it, but this one is mine
- Ted Salmons on This is my bag. There are many like it, but this one is mine
- Ted Salmons on New Years New Years hooray for New Years
- salemonz on The mind’s remembering
- Meghan Kathleen (@meghankathleen) on The mind’s remembering
- Hey @Lowes...question: Getting a new dual fuel range from you guys Monday. Delivery guy will haul away old gas rang… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 4 months ago
- Celebrating my Navy mom and dad for Veterans Day! @USAA #HonorThroughAction https://t.co/owxUaHxMTr 8 months ago
- Happy 71st to the men and women - past and present - of the @usairforce! We're honored & humbled to be able to serv… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 10 months ago
- RT @Tony_Wells_: RIP. An American Hero...John McCain, War Hero, Senator, Presidential Contender, Dies at 81 via @NYTimes https://t.co/VYK… 10 months ago
- December 2014 (1)
- November 2014 (5)
- October 2014 (7)
- September 2014 (2)
- April 2014 (1)
- March 2014 (2)
- February 2014 (2)
- January 2014 (4)
- December 2013 (3)
- November 2013 (2)
- October 2013 (3)
- September 2013 (7)
- August 2013 (3)
- July 2013 (8)
- June 2013 (2)
- March 2011 (2)
- October 2010 (4)
- September 2010 (2)
- August 2010 (1)
- July 2010 (7)
- June 2010 (1)
- May 2010 (3)
- April 2010 (1)
- January 2010 (3)
- October 2009 (2)
- September 2009 (5)
- August 2009 (6)
- May 2008 (8)
- February 2008 (3)
- January 2008 (7)
- December 2007 (5)
- November 2007 (7)
- October 2007 (10)
- September 2007 (8)
- August 2007 (8)
- July 2007 (11)
- June 2007 (9)
- May 2007 (11)
- April 2007 (7)
- March 2007 (6)
- February 2007 (3)
- January 2007 (6)
- December 2006 (5)
- November 2006 (8)
- October 2006 (12)
- September 2006 (11)
- August 2006 (14)
- July 2006 (11)
- June 2006 (11)
- May 2006 (13)
- April 2006 (8)
- March 2006 (7)
- February 2006 (17)
- January 2006 (15)
- December 2005 (12)
- November 2005 (14)
- October 2005 (19)
- September 2005 (7)
- August 2005 (19)