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Pay-Per-View Journalism Is Burning Out Reporters Young

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the digital-sweatshops dept.

The Internet 227

Hugh Pickens writes "Young journalists once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story, but the NY Times now reports that instead many are working online shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news — anything that will impress Google's algorithms and draw readers their way. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times all display a 'most viewed' list on their home pages; some media outlets, including Bloomberg News and Gawker Media, now pay writers based in part on how many readers click on their articles. 'At a [traditional] paper, your only real stress point is in the evening when you're actually sitting there on deadline, trying to file,' says Jim VandeHei, Politico's executive editor. 'Now at any point in the day starting at 5 in the morning, there can be that same level of intensity and pressure to get something out.' The pace has led to substantial turnover in staff at digital news organizations. At Politico, roughly a dozen reporters have left in the first half of the year — a big number for a newsroom that has only about 70 reporters and editors. 'When my students come back to visit, they carry the exhaustion of a person who's been working for a decade, not a couple of years,' says Duy Linh Tu of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. 'I worry about burnout.'"

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227 comments

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Good. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969502)

See subject.

It doesn't matter (4, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969544)

Investigative journalism is dead.

The only thing left for journalists to do is put a little spin on corporate and government press releases.

It doesn't matter-The future of trees. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969650)

But...but...blogs are the "new and improved" journalism, instead of the "old and busted" dead tree. Those that have something invested in the internet told me so.

Re:It doesn't matter-The future of trees. (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970080)

Especially The NYT, WashPost, and LATimes all do [harvard.edu] not [yahoo.com] deserve [editorsweblog.org] our eyeballs [theatlantic.com] . Young journalists, do yourselves a favor... and go elsewhere.

Or become real reporters. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969658)

Watch a week of The Daily Show. Watch how they compare current comments by politicians to past comments by those same politicians.

I don't think this is about the time-to-publish.

I think this is more about not having the depth or experience to dig into the background material. Reporters who really know their subject material will have no problem attracting viewers.

Re:Or become real reporters. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969716)

Then watch the entire footage those "clips" the Daily Show edits.
I'm a Daily Show and Colbert fan, but please don't take them as real journalists. Even they themselves say that.

Re:Or become real reporters. (4, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969954)

Its not that they are journalists but how is it that nobody in the actual industry ever goes back and calls people on what they said 6 months ago?

Doing that gets the Daily show a lot of viewers, I would think that doing the same thing in a more rigorous journalistic environment would get you a lot of eyeballs.

Of course once you start doing that, you loose your access to politicians and people of note because they can always find people willing to show up to a press conference and not ask any difficult questions in the hope of getting a few eyeballs on their web site.

Re:Or become real reporters. (0, Flamebait)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970730)

Its not that they are journalists but how is it that nobody in the actual industry ever goes back and calls people on what they said 6 months ago?

Fox News does that (not that I'm a Fox News fan, or that I trust Fox News not to quote things out of context). So your point about "serious journalism" still stands.

Re:Or become real reporters. (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970904)

Its not that they are journalists but how is it that nobody in the actual industry ever goes back and calls people on what they said 6 months ago?

Tune in to Radio 4 [bbc.co.uk] in the morning.

Re:Or become real reporters. (4, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969992)

Then watch the entire footage those "clips" the Daily Show edits.
I'm a Daily Show and Colbert fan, but please don't take them as real journalists. Even they themselves say that.

True and yet... an awful lot of journalists don't even make it to that low bar.

On one hand, it's a little bad to forever hold politicians accountable to everything they've ever said, in that it rewards rigidity of thinking and punishes the kind of intellectual and political honesty it takes to be able to admit publically that you were wrong and you've changed your mind.

On the other hand, it's a lot bad to not hold them accountable at all to their past statements.

It should be someone's job to do that research and, when relevant, put the positions into context. Is this not the job of a political journalist? Should not some real journalist be able to carve out a niche for themselves by doing the Daily Show style job of saying, "Wait a minute, here's Rudy '9/11' Giuliani claiming that there were no domestic terrorist attacks during the Bush Administration, and he almost can't complete a sentence without referencing one..."?

I think you'd be able to do that job pretty well even in a non-partisan way -- politicians of every stripe and creed walk into those situations constantly.

wait, what? (2, Interesting)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970208)

and political honesty it takes to be able to admit publically that you were wrong and you've changed your mind.

when have you honestly seen that happen? I've seen them change their minds left and right, but I've never yet heard one say they were wrong and why they have changed thir mind (the only time I've heard one say "I was wrong" was when they got caught in Italy with a rent-a-boy after trying to engrain anti-GLBT language into the constitution)

Re:Or become real reporters. (4, Insightful)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970460)

This.

It may be true that things are taken out of context to some extent, but these people are still saying these things.

TDS and TCR aren't taking a quote like "There's no evidence that Obama is a racist who hates white people" and turning it into "Obama is a racist who hates white people". They are not hiding behind words, lying, or otherwise abusing the concept of journalism. They are no AP, or whoever, but they are ultimately honest commentators who call out when other people are being dishonest.

Also, a politician who says "I once believe this, but changed my mind because of this, and now I believe this", is promptly removed from office.

Re:Or become real reporters. (3, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970196)

Then watch the entire footage those "clips" the Daily Show edits. I'm a Daily Show and Colbert fan, but please don't take them as real journalists. Even they themselves say that.

Check this Daily Show report out [google.com] (it is a google link since the video keeps getting take down notices on youtube). What you say is a complement really, because if their kind of journalism is not "real" - it is certainly more enlightening than the processed sanitized crap the "pro's" try to shovel down our throats.

Re:Or become real reporters. (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970742)

Absolutely true. And yet, they're still doing better reporting than a hell of a lot of news sources.

Re:Or become real reporters. (3, Insightful)

electron sponge (1758814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969730)

It's sad that Comedy Central actually has one of the better sources for news analysis going. Sad, and hilarious.

Re:Or become real reporters. (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969792)

"The daily show, where more Americans get their news than probably should"

I wonder why they stopped having those mottoes...

Re:Or become real reporters. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969928)

Sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from sufficiently advanced stupidity.

Re:Or become real reporters. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970226)

No.

Parody != stupidity on all and any levels.

Stupidity might be the fodder for parody.

Parody might make juicy fun of stupdity.

Neither relies on the other.

Re:Or become real reporters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970746)

Sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from sufficiently advanced stupidity.

You're statement easily qualifies for advanced stupidity.

You also seem to confuse parody with satire.

Daily Show != news (3, Insightful)

Burz (138833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970810)

The Daily Show get their news second hand mainly from the 'news' outlets they criticize. Yes, its interesting to see them tear apart the lies, distractions, schizophrenia and lopsidedness that passes for news -- but don't mistake that criticism for actual news.

What the Daily Show does is a kind of journalism, but they hardly function as 'reporters' in any significant way.

Re:It doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969738)

The state of journalism is really sad. So much focus on scandals, not enough on important stories. So much focus on whether politicians' rhetoric is being successful in moving the polls, not enough on whether the politicians' actions are helping people. So much focus on X number of people dying someplace-or-other, with very little description of anything good or productive going on anywhere. So much focus on all the things that will kill you, not enough focus on telling you how you can help others.

I've given up. I barely pay attention to news anymore.

Re:It doesn't matter (2, Interesting)

Pandrake (1513617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970272)

Ironic that just last night Sean Penn said almost the same thing on PBS Newshour while discussing the problems he faces getting funded for continued relief^^rebuilding efforts in Haiti.

Re:It doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970388)

I've given up. I barely pay attention to news anymore.

Its called "extreme narrrowcasting". A pretty effective industry killer. Usually comes from over management and/or over reliance on simplistic metrics. Generally requires an oligopoly where only a couple companies control the market. Also requires shortsightedness, not exactly a quality lacking in American corporations.

In a healthy ecology of news sources, the supplier with the most "scandal/rhetoric" will probably beat the more bland supplier. However, when escalated, it rapidly repels the population, until one supplier gloriously achieves 100% of the market of the remaining 1% of the consumers.

In the movie biz, it leads to endless sequels of formulaic movies. In the music biz it leads to lip syncing and formulaic music. In the video game biz it leads to FPS sequels, or in the early 80s led to quite an industry crash. In the news biz it forces tabloid journalism.

Once enough people are fed up, the entire industry collapses, and reboots, essentially.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970454)

The state of journalism is really sad. So much focus on scandals, not enough on important stories. So much focus on whether politicians' rhetoric is being successful in moving the polls, not enough on whether the politicians' actions are helping people.

It's called "human interest stories". Everything is supposed to be focused around few pretty faces. Journalists elevate personal feelings and achievements of individuals above significance and consequences of those individuals' actions. They can't explain what some scientific discovery, achievement in technology, natural disaster, decision of politicians or any other newsworthy event means in a way relevant to their audience, so they expect that audience will out of the blue care about participants' emotions. With this approach all they can do is to talk nonstop about popular actors, as those are the only people whose overblown display of emotion has any significance for the public.

Re:It doesn't matter (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969786)

you mean journalist will actually have to *gasp* WORK like the rest of us? No more 10 second story read from a teleprompter in an exotic paradise

WHAT HAS THE WORLD COME TOO...

As far as im concerned you should put all the journalist on a big boat, float it into the middle of the atlantic... and torpedo it... but film it and put that on the news.... just loop it so we get to see what happens when terrible stupid stories make it too the air.

Re:It doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970138)

Actually, I think you'll find that true investigative journalism has simply become unprofitable. It's not that people don't want to work on it, it's that no one really wants to report verified, accurate fact with as little bias as possible any more.

Introducing a bias that whips your audience into a frenzy sells a shitload more ads.

And why bother verifying (or, let's be honest, even collecting!) facts when all you want to do is keep your audience angry enough about the only they know for sure. The simple fact that everyone but you is lying to them about everything?

Investigative journalism still exists, to an extent. But it's going away, because advertisers pay the outlets that attract the most eyeballs, and people aren't willing to pay for the newspaper any more.

We are, truly, getting the news outlets we so richly deserve.

Re:It doesn't matter (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969940)

I am not a journalist, but I wonder if the solution to both of those problems is maybe to move back toward a periodical basis for publishing. Just because you -can- update a news website every minute doesn't mean you necessarily -should-, and I think in fact that just because every other website updates every few minutes doesn't mean yours needs to either per se. Maybe if you said "Okay, the front page is going to be updated once a day at noon, that's when the deadline is. A big story breaks an hour after noon, that gives you 23 hours to get the full story and make it coherent rather than publish bits and pieces in a stream of drivel."

It wouldn't get the first scoops, but how profitable is that anyway? Seems like most individuals still don't follow most news stories as fast as they come out, with the BP oil spill most people I know didn't seem to know until a few days after the story broke. It's not like people searching for news on a subject look for first-breaking story.

Heck, maybe people would even go there right after your daily publishing to browse rather than just going to google and getting the story you broke first without giving you any page hits.

Just throwing the suggestion out there. Again, I don't really know what I'm talking about.

Re:It doesn't matter (3, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970230)

Just because you -can- update a news website every minute doesn't mean you necessarily -should-

I want to find you and give you a friendly man-hug. I really do. It would be so cool to have reporters actually check their facts and have their editors really give a crap about whether the truth is being at least attempted at.

I honestly wish the world worked that way, but it doesn't any more.

If you wait to report your story, by the time you released it everyone would skip right on past the headline saying "nope, read that four hours ago, what are these people smoking that they think I still give a shit?"

You might attract a small following of people interested in dropping the information crapflow and looking for verified, reasonably nonbiased, honest reporting. But few advertisers are going to want to deal in what they consider "old news".

The only way to get advertisers is to gain a really dedicated following of people. And with the dizzying array of news sources, first is often seen as best.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970236)

Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post recently wrote a hilariously crotchety op-ed on the subject of real-time news publishing in the era of the internet: "Gene Weingarten column mentions Lady Gaga. [washingtonpost.com] "

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970256)

I prefer that method. I like being able to look at a news site once a day, scan for what I want, and be done with it. /. is actually the only "as it happens" site I read because I simply can't keep up... I have stuff to do.

You might by right - see Private Eye (1)

xiox (66483) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970434)

Private Eye, a UK satirical/current affairs magazine comes out twice a month with quite a bit of investigative journalism and lots of things you don't read any where else. They website contains hardly any of their content and they still have quite a few subscribers.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970816)

I think your desire is echoed by many (myself included) but it is completely invalidated by the 24-hour news cycle.

By the time you're reporting that event that happened 12-24 hours ago, other sites are reporting on the meta-news. He-said-she-said, or further developing events related to the original news item.

You'd be hopelessly behind anyone who wants to discuss or act on the news (which, I think, are the major reasons people want news). You couldn't make any money.

It's not like people searching for news on a subject look for first-breaking story.

But if news is breaking, and people are searching for it: if you haven't published then news yet, you don't get their clicks. By the time you've published, people have seen it on the televised news or heard about it elsewhere... they no longer have the desire to search for it.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969968)

Timezones also count - and why is no one blaming Rupert Murdoch?

Imagine - a court case is Seattle.WI - press descend tv has best coverage with two crews, and one press journalist turns up. That one report is the basis of global coverage. Later another local to Seattle journalist did some work and dispatched some emails, her knowledge of the technical of the case zero bar the pdf file from the government which was either beyond the reporters ability to get an independent view of the case if speed was the name of the game.

Another example is http://muckandbrass.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] It even took the bbc several attempts to report this correctly and correct its bias.

If speed in the local timezone is all that matters then the sooner this Journalism metric dies the better.

Or does it? (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969988)

Conversely, the lack of investigative journalists is making the newspapers obsolete. They're being strangled by economics.

Re:Or does it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970522)

Conversely, the lack of investigative journalists is making the newspapers obsolete. They're being strangled by economics.

People don't buy trash. Journalism has been dying for much longer than online news has been around. People have been giving up on daily papers for a long time. The product is too poor. There is limited appeal for $celeb doing $thing every bloody day. Sad that the big headlines are generally around $famous_person having sex with $another_person, just to keep the tiny remaining readers.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

DCstewieG (824956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970164)

Not all dead. The latest addition to my RSS reader: http://www.propublica.org/ [propublica.org]

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970232)

> Investigative journalism is dead.

Investigate West. The Watchdog Institute. DocumentCloud. The Climate Desk. The Investigative News Network. The Texas Tribune. ProPublica. The Center for Public Integrity.

Turn off your TV, motherfucker, because the revolution has not been televised.

You say this like its a bad thing (1)

necro351 (593591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970340)

I agree with you, however its not just corporate and government press releases, but press releases from everyone, each individual. Twitter and blogging have made this possible. This is actually a good thing, not only is there much more information being freely offered up by individuals closest to the story, but it is in an electronic format that can be rapidly processed and aggregated, mashed up, or simply ignored.

The real issue is that news houses are turning into sweat-shop filters, finding contradictions and doing natural lang to squeeze relevant facts together into a (usually) coherent sentence. The next big mover in this industry is going to be someone who figures out how to collect data from Twitter and blogs, and then automatically find factual contradictions and put relevant facts together into an article. Such a news house could more easily afford then to send the humans off to ask questions, and conduct novel investigation into important matters.

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970652)

Read the BBC. When I was in India watching the BBC was refreshing. They reported on news around the world. Had in depth investigations and stories. A stark contrast to CNN and the 'OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW' lets look at twitter for a minute...

Re:It doesn't matter (1)

hsyl20 (1860620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970778)

Here in France, one of the main scandal about Sarkozy (small king) involving Eric Woerth (budget minister) and Liliane Bettencourt (L'Oréal, #17 in Forbes, #3 in France) has been investigated by journalists working for MediaPart. MediaPart exists only online and is not free (90€/year, ~$116/year). Since the beginning of this scandal, hundreds of people registered (up to 300 registrations per day). Our best investigation newspaper is Le Canard Enchainé. It is printed without any ads and sold only for 1,20€ (>500000 sales/week, +24% in 2007). Its journalists are among the best paid journalists in France. However, they can't hold any share in any company and can't accept presents (official decorations, etc.). So if investigative journalists do their job, it seems to be possible for them to live well, even online.

Re:It doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970872)

Investigative journalism has been dead for quite some time. Journalists are more interested in keeping access to their sources than investigating, and have been since Watergate. Investigative journalism used to look like what O'Keefe did to ACORN, but O'Keefe was just some kid. Even John Stewart said he was embarrassed that the media got scooped by that guy.

Welcome to the Digital Age! (4, Interesting)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969550)

I'm sure this "burnout" isn't confined to journalism. Virtually everybody I know who is shackled to a deskjob with an email account faces the same problem.

The electronic leash has gotten so tight nobody can breathe anymore. I know I can't.

No matter how "nice" the workplace, in today's "competitive" marketplace you've got to be first - and if the 20-somethings are feeling that put-upon think how a 50ish guy like me must feel!

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (3, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969652)

I'm sure this "burnout" isn't confined to journalism. Virtually everybody I know who is shackled to a deskjob with an email account faces the same problem.

I tried to tell them that shackles and handcuffs have a direct correlation to carpel tunnel in our office, but some smart ass at the board meeting made note that correlation does not equal causation, making the argument that perhaps people prone to carpel tunnel are the ones who line up for jobs that require shackling.
I was, however able to convince them to take off the shackles by demonstrating an electric shock collar regularly used to keep dogs in the owners yard can be just as effective.

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970200)

Speaking of carpal tunnel we recently "upgraded" a legacy application that is critical to our business and in doing so introduced a slew of complaints from users who always used keyboard shortcuts to do their work. The new software has eliminated about 75% of the keyboard shortcuts in favor of mousing. While the app looks nicer in everybody's eyes morale has dropped because of this "upgrade" - and we can't downgrade.

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (0, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969770)

Really? I suggest you get some therapy. Computers haven't really changed your job or the way you work, you have. YOU think you need to answer an email the instant it comes in. YOU think you are shackled to your desk.

In short, your problem is all in your head.

If you don't respond to an email within a couple hours, no one is going to die. If they are, you definitately are in the wrong job as you clearly can't handle self-inflicted stress, let alone something thats really stressful.

If you don't like your job, LEAVE. McDonalds is hiring. And yes, it is that simple. The reality of it is, everything you throw out to justify why you can't go work at McDonalds comes down to one thing: You don't want to work at McDonalds. Your current job is better on a number of levels, and thats all you've got for reasons to not work there. You're just whining about bullshit because you need to have something in your life that makes you feel needed.

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969982)

Hey now, computers HAVE changed the job and the way people work. Before invoicing would take forever, but now that you can put it on an application to track all the work-orders and what not, its a snap! You don't have to filter through filing cabinets as much, etc etc.

As such, people are expected to get through more invoices a day.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that people who complain about their job when they have one better than fast food, they're kinda whiners. I've been there, I had to work seasonal (christmas) at Chapters, then at a Dairy Queen for a few shifts between IT jobs. Complaining about your job at a desk is really not going to inspire empathy with me.

But to say that computers haven't changed things, now thats just silly. People DO get "shackled" to their desk because they have so much work to do on their computer before they go home. But whether or not thats a terrible job is another thing entirely.

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970022)

Computers haven't really changed your job or the way you work, you have.

Actually, they have; the tracking of everything they enable combines with the free-market drive to efficiency to squeeze every last bit of juice out of those lucky few who aren't fired due to all this increased efficiency.

YOU think you need to answer an email the instant it comes in. YOU think you are shackled to your desk.

If you don't answer it, or leave your desk, you get a mark against you. Enough marks and you lose the job, and have no chance of getting another one in today's market.

If you don't respond to an email within a couple hours, no one is going to die.

Along with the job, you lose your health insurance, which means that you actually have a pretty good chance of dying.

If you don't like your job, LEAVE. McDonalds is hiring. And yes, it is that simple. The reality of it is, everything you throw out to justify why you can't go work at McDonalds comes down to one thing: You don't want to work at McDonalds. Your current job is better on a number of levels, and thats all you've got for reasons to not work there. You're just whining about bullshit because you need to have something in your life that makes you feel needed.

You are making the assumption that McDonald's isn't participating in the race to the bottom, as far as pay and working conditions go. It is. It is indeed a worse job than almost any office job, but that doesn't make those office jobs good, any more than being better than Hell makes Somalia a good place to live.

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (4, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969880)

It's competition. When you have ten thousand journalists trying to do a job of a few hundreds, of course they'll have to work extra hard to beat each other.

If you don't want the electronic leash to be so tight, you have to do something with less competition, where you have a competitive advantage. For example, instead of reporting on standard events, provide analysis based on knowledge that isn't very widely available.

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970784)

Ding ding ding! We have a winner folks! Seriously though, I find the sites I frequent for news are the ones that provide thoughtful analysis and not just plain old regurgitation (though they certainly do that too).

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (2, Insightful)

W2k (540424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969932)

You chose to wear that leash, don't complain if it doesn't fit.

I have a desk job with a computer and e-mail. I have a cellphone with my work e-mail so I can stay updated while I'm not in the office, but I only really read it while I'm working. I guess if something really important came up my boss could call me in, and I'd be happy to oblige if I could because I know I would be compensated for it. So far this hasn't ever happened, though. My work weeks are 40 hours, although I feel no need to keep track of every minute - sometimes I leave a bit early, sometimes late. My boss doesn't really mind when I leave so long as work gets done on time. There's no punch clock where I work.

You may claim that my situation is unique and that I've been very lucky but this has been the same for the last three places I've worked in. I only left those jobs because I wanted better pay and more interesting things to do. The same goes for pretty much everyone I know. If you find yourself "leashed" to work, your cellphone or your boss's whims, switch employers. There are plenty - PLENTY - out there that care about keeping their employees happy. It has nothing to do with technology.

everything old is new again (1)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970216)

The Jungle [wikipedia.org] is electronic now.

Ha Ha Ha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970348)

I work in production at a TV station, and I don't even check my email when I'm there, much less at home. If people want something done aside from my normal duties when I'm there, bring me the work, or come talk to me. When I leave, I'm out, I don't work for free. I have to fight just to get what's due to me as per our employment agreement, so now I just do my work. My level of caring is equal to my benefit for my output.

You want more responsibility from me? Pay me, simple as that. If I get replaced with a person who will accept less pay, then it is time to leave anyway.

Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970772)

It used to be that only IT workers where expected to work strange hours and unpaid overtime in front of a computer.
Now the same is slowly applied to anyone with a work deadline done in front of a computer.

For IT, we did it to ourselves, the first generation of passionate coders worked like crazy, so all that followed was expected to do the same.

Are the student in journalism doing the same error? Unpaid working terms; newbies out of school working like crazy to impress and get "the real job"? And now everyone is expected to do the same?

I'd like to report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969588)

That Lindsay Lohan is going to jail today. You can pay me now that you've viewed this comment. Thanks

Re:I'd like to report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969890)

Haha, sucker! I never clicked on your... Damn it.

Re:I'd like to report (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970152)

I''d like it of no one reported on that, thank you

not pay-per-view journalism to blame... (3, Insightful)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969614)

in our connected and largely bi-partisan society, there is only a necessity for a single university's graduating journalism class to cover most national events.

too many people doing the same job... sounds just like the new criticisms with the post 9/11 intelligence agencies.

the problem is, at 10%+ unemployment, what else are the people going to do?

Re:not pay-per-view journalism to blame... (1)

bigspring (1791856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969680)

the problem is, at 10%+ unemployment, what else are the people going to do?

Not quit their jobs?

Re:not pay-per-view journalism to blame... (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969848)

the job that is destroying their psyche, stagnating american media, and is ultimately redundant and unnecessary?

Re:not pay-per-view journalism to blame... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970574)

That's different from any other media? Even gaming media is stagnating with lack of new ideas and rehashes of old game ideas with new fancy. From what I read, a good chunk of game developers have an abysmal track record right now as well.

Re:not pay-per-view journalism to blame... (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970762)

the gaming platforms are drastically increasing in potential every few years. the written word's potential is as fixed as the language it utilizes.

Here's a thought (4, Informative)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969664)

Do what Radley Balko, probably the most important civil liberties reporter out there right now, does: actually go after the nitty gritty details of the stories that rub you the wrong way from the police reports. He's taken "mundane" stories and turned them into WTF?! controversies (which they deserved to be) by doing that. To my knowledge, he rarely has to fight with other reporters over the same stories because, well, he actually **investigates** rather than do a few phone calls and call it a day.

Re:Here's a thought (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969914)

Unfortunately, the point of the articles is that very few people are able to get paid to be actual reporters. To do the things you suggest requires an editor willing to support you.

Re:Here's a thought (4, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970078)

And if anyone thinks google's decisions should be part of their compensation, they should know that google decided to return this as the first image when i searched for Radley Balko [google.com] :

http://www.pescare.com/siluro/images3/micione1.JPG [pescare.com]

The second was no more pertinent, but a whole lot less rude about it:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/94/249737018_3f387acbc5_o.jpg [flickr.com]

Rockstar Economy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969688)

When only the most visible can make a living and everybody else is reduced to financing their struggle some other way, then it is an instance of what I call "rockstar economy". More and more competition is for a decreasing number of profitable spots. Many bands never make a profit, but a few become obscenely rich. The internet nourished the hope that more people could become publishers, and it has delivered on that hope. The effect however is that the global availability makes it harder to make a living that way, except for the few who - often through luck alone - attract the attention of the masses. Being in the right place at the right time is becoming ever more important. This economic development is unsustainable. It wastes a tremendous amount of talent.

Pandering to local versus global audience (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969690)

It's harder to get a scoop that will be picked up globally (internet) versus just local? Why isn't that hard to imagine?

Journalists no longer have to beat the other local journalists to the punch, they have to beat _every_ journalist to the punch. Welcome to the internet.

Re:Pandering to local versus global audience (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969868)

Journalists no longer have to beat the other local journalists to the punch, they have to beat _every_ journalist to the punch. Welcome to the internet.

Expounding a bit on that:

We also have a 24-hour constant news cycle now, rather than having (more or less) a single daily window, either the nightly news if you were a broadcast journalist or the morning paper if you were a print journalist. In other words, previously you were only racing the other local journalists, and if you all managed to get the story on the same day, it was essentially a tie.

True, its hard to make a living as a (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969708)

bad journalist.

If all you do is spend your day browsing the web trying to find some info that someone else reported so you can report on it in a sad attempt to get some add impressions then you will find it very hard to consider it fulfilling job.

On the other hand, its an easy job that requires no brains or effort so you probably should quit your bitching.

If you want to trot the world, see strange places and break that AWESOME story, then, well, you're going to have to take some risks. Get out from behind the desk. Actually see the world and ... GASP ... FIND SOME FUCKING NEWS TO REPORT ON OF YOUR OWN.

Re:True, its hard to make a living as a (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969828)

If you want to trot the world, see strange places and break that AWESOME story, then, well, you're going to have to take some risks. Get out from behind the desk. Actually see the world and ... GASP ... FIND SOME FUCKING NEWS TO REPORT ON OF YOUR OWN.

And that's what you do, right? Because it's just that easy. Grab your passport, get some plane tickets, fly your way to Myanmar, buy your way into the inner circle of government, then fly back to Los Angeles and write your exposé on corruption in the Myanmar dictatorship and sell it to the Los Angeles Times for, oh, let's say $1,000. Rinse and repeat. Right?

Re:True, its hard to make a living as a (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970486)

Rinse and repeat.

Why would I want to do the same report twice? ... duh. I'd take that $1000 and run!

Re:True, its hard to make a living as a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969962)

The point is that risk doesn't pay the bills. It is unreasonable to expect an individual reporter to shoulder the risk that nothing will come of a long investigation. If you look into an issue for months and in the end you can only come up with "it didn't look right, but it was", then who's going to pay your rent? The hit or miss ratio is infeasible for an individual. The constant demand that reporters must "perform", satisfy short-term metrics and deliver the fastest instead of the most thorough report means that reporters can not deliver what you consider good journalism. They simply wouldn't get paid for it. They don't even have a few hours per report anymore. The next report is due now and every minute the reporter takes is an opportunity for the competition to claim the top spot, to collect the links and the ad revenue.

So... (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969726)

...instead of there being a comparatively select few in the world who get actual journalism jobs, there's an endless supply of journalists writing things online that anyone could do?

They're burned out because the *blogosphere* (eurggh) is too flooded for anyone to get very far doing just that. If there were something to aspire to other than maybe, by chance, becoming one of the "popular blogs" and continuing to do what you've always done, they'd be all starry eyed and happy.

As it is, they're just bored.

My nickname tells the tale... (1)

ITBurnout (1845712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969756)

I haven't reached the point of turning into the next Ted Kaczynski, but I often question the claim that technology has made our lives easier overall. The net effect appears to have been to cause everyone to demand instant access and instant responses to everything, complicate our lives, shorten deadline expectations to ridiculous levels, increase "information overload" exponentially, and ultimately create a helluva lot of stress. Excuse me while I fire up Left for Dead and take out my frustrations on some zombie ass...

I'm Feeling Bored and Creative... (5, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969766)

"Young engineers once dreamed of hacking the globe in pursuit of a new invention, but the NY Times now reports that instead many are working shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh bug or try to solve some miniscule problem involving the smallest of system parts — anything that will impress executive boards and draw bonuses their way. Lockheed Martin, The Boeing Company, and Northrop Grumman all peddle very advanced defense technologies to the United States Government that require armies of engineers to aggregate existing subcomponents from other contractors in order to generate cost plus revenue on project contracts. 'At a [traditional] engineering company, your stress point is just before the design review with the customer, where you are trying to explain the solution to his problem with a last-minute presentation. 'Now at any point in the day starting at 5 in the morning, there can be that same level of intensity and pressure to get something out when one of your middle manager bosses comes knocking at your cubicle entrance for a surprise study of your progress.' The pace has led to substantial turnover in staff at large engineering firms all over the nation. At all three major defense contractors, hundreds of engineers have been laid off due to contract cancellations resulting from schedule overruns. 'When my students come back to visit, they carry the exhaustion of a person who's been working for a decade, not a couple of years,' says [Random Engineering Professor] of the [Random Engineering College]. 'I worry about burnout.'"

Yup...it fits well enough. Burnout is what happens when retarded business majors and incompetent morons get promoted up the company power ladder for slightly increasing this quarter's profit. If you head up organizations with short term thinkers, then it is the grunt workers at the bottom that suffer in every industry. This is the result of living in a money-worshiping society that values the next dollar above all else.

You want to do your part to change the way things work in your industry young reporters? It's simple. Stop working for the large media outlets that treat you like a consumable resource. Instead, find a nice local newspaper that treats its employees with respect or, better yet, start your own independent blog. Will you make as much money? Nah. Will you live longer with more sanity? Probably. You can't have your cake and eat it to. Have enough respect for yourself to make your income a means to an end, rather than the end itself, and your employers will start to treat you with respect as well. If you are insecure enough in your persona to let a large company rape you up and down the halls in terms of stress and hours worked, then you are going to get stomped on throughout your entire career until you are finally subdued into a finally beaten pulp of what was once a human being.

Don't blame the managers for economic pressures... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969888)

The paper is being forced to reduce costs. They're doing what a capitalist market demands they do, squeezing every dollar of income they can out of their workers. Truckers get to roll their rigs, shipping yards get to drop crates, and writers get to burn out. Same problem, similar results; but hey, at least there's one advantage to being behind a desk -- less risk of immediate physical injury.

Re:I'm Feeling Bored and Creative... (2, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970392)

Stop working for the large media outlets that treat you like a consumable resource. Instead, find a nice local newspaper that treats its employees with respect or, better yet, start your own independent blog.

Find one first. Every newspaper within 150 miles of my house has been bought out by ever-larger conglomerates. Most then immediately cut the local field reporter jobs by about 2/3. After a few rounds of this, our "local" papers are owned by companies three states over, and reporting has been cut to the point where one reporter is responsible for at least 4-5 towns, and a couple of interns per county do filler stories like "Edna's thoughts on turning 103" and "Looka da cute fuzzy puppy!"

By the time I cut my subscription, the "local" section was a total of 10 pages long, most of it advertising or letters to the editor. There was, at best, one article that had anything to do with a town 20 miles from me, and that was usually a filler piece.

The "free paper" actually sends reporters to town council meetings and does more local reporting. It's chock full of ads, and doesn't have any Reuters or other non-local stories, but it's got a lot of local stuff in it, and it's actually not all that bad for being written by obviously inexperienced journalists.

Nothing new to see here (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969776)

Any young journalist coming out of college in *ANY* era thinking that journalism is going to mean "trotting the globe in pursuit of a story" is in for a huge disappointment. Even in the heyday of journalism, very few journalists ever even left their town on city. For every Bob Woodward, there are about 1,000 local reporters whose most exciting story of the year involves an argument at a town council meeting.

journalist...eke out a fresh thought (3, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969796)

Young journalists once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story, but the NY Times now reports that instead many are working online shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought

That sounds more like editorial than journalism. Investigate. Report news. Leave the fresh thoughts to the readers.

Re:journalist...eke out a fresh thought (1)

SnowDog74 (745848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970002)

Murrow and many others, myself included, respectfully disagree. We're human beings. We have points of view. If the news were restricted purely to reporting and not editorial, then we'd be in a very sad state of affairs never being presented with anything to think critically about. It would be like the world in "The Invention of Lying" where every film is just some guy reading passages in history books.

I'm not encouraging sensationalist journalism either. The Murrow school of thought tends to be this: Have a point of view, of course... but be prepared to analyze and defend it.

This doesn't mean two pundits talking at each other for thirty minutes without any facts to back up their assertions. This means doing one's homework, creating a thesis and supporting arguments for it. That's much of what journalism is... or was, anyway, before blogs came along and replaced journalism with regurgitation of the slightest blurb every hour of the day to increase pageviews.

Another reason I discourage just leaving "the fresh thoughts to the readers" is the lack of editorial guidance on the web. Blogs are often staffed by people who work for next to nothing, or nothing, because ad revenue doesn't pay nearly as much as people like to believe it does. So you might have a handful of paid staff, then fifty other "contributors" whose work gets published round the clock, with zero time allotted for editorial guidance to determine newsworthiness, accuracy and, in opinion pieces, solidity of the writer's argument.

Readers still have a responsibility of determining for themselves whether or not they think the writer justified his or her opinions, but writers have a responsibility that shouldn't be abdicated just because of a 24/7 news cycle (thanks a lot, CNN) or the supposedly interactive nature of the web where you can find websites with meaninglessly high global rankings, yet whose readers never actually dig beyond a headline—evidenced by time-on-site/time-on-page analytics.

Re:journalist...eke out a fresh thought (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970668)

It would be like the world in "The Invention of Lying" where every film is just some guy reading passages in history books.

Journalists aren't supposed to be writers of fiction.

They tend to fudge that, though, which is probably why a lot of people aren't paying attention any more. It's just another form of entertainment now, there is little that is pertinent, and if it is pertinent, you can't tell what's real because the story is so heavily biased by the journalist's personal views.

A journalist of integrity should be digging up all relevant parts of a story, yet they rarely - if ever - do.

Editorializing news makes it less useful. Period.

Stop the presses! - Work is hard! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969804)

Boo Hoo!

And not usually fun either.

Bout time they joined the rest of us.

It can wait (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969818)

Pretty much anything that happened yesterday, can wait until I am ready to read it in tomorrow morning's paper (yes paper).

I don't want to be bothered with every little detail of the world that emerges throughout the day. That is the reporter's job – to observe, digest, and report each day's news.

Headlines (3, Insightful)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969844)

anything that will impress Google's algorithms and draw readers their way

This is why headlines have become so outrageously hyperbolic. Few would click a link labeled Obama gives a speech But a headline like Obama STABS Republicans in the HEART with a verbal KNIFE!!!1 and you get a million hits.

Re:Headlines (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970016)

The thing is outrageously hyperbolic headlines were around long before Google or even the Internet. The biggest problem with "journalism" is that too many of the people going into the field go into "journalism" in order to "change the world". People should get into journalism in order to tell people what is going on, if you want to "change the world", go into politics.
Of course if you really want to change the world, become a Big Brother/Big Sister and touch someone's life. As a general rule you can't change the world for the better, but you can change some one's world for the better. The only way to make the world a better place is one person at a time.

Re:Headlines (1)

SnowDog74 (745848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970246)

I didn't go into film criticism to change the world. I did it because I enjoy analyzing art, the way some people enjoy analyzing politics. If nobody used their critical thinking skills to share their analyses with others, we would be better off how, exactly?

Re:Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970374)

I think I touched someone's wife once.

Bush - Gingrich 2012 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32969956)

is a credible scenario given the failed exploits of the current DemocRATS. Newt Gingrich upon first impressions is an affable old man. However, it will take only a few minutes to conclude he is a pompous political operator who is only interested in a larger bank account. Morover, his idea of health care reform is to eat responsibility.
      This is to voice my dissatisfaction with Newt Gingrich's blandishments. Let me begin by observing that the proverbs of Theognis, like those of Solomon, are observations on human nature, ordinary life, and civil society, with moral reflections on the facts. I quote him as a witness of the fact that I have a New Year's resolution for Gingrich: He should pick up a book before he jumps to the dour conclusion that his philosophies are Holy Writ. Take a good, close look at yourself, Gingrich. What you'll probably find is that you're misguided. One of the ill-tempered remarks we often hear from him is that he is the arbiter of all things. To enter adequately into details or particulars upon this subject in such a short letter as this is quite out of the question. Hence, I will only remark here, in a general way but with all the emphasis of earnestness and truth, that Gingrich was a pestiferous scatterbrain when I first encountered him. Gingrich is a pestiferous scatterbrain now. And there is no more reason for believing that Gingrich will ever cease to be a pestiferous scatterbrain than there is for supposing that censorship could benefit us.

As a dynamic, historical current, antagonism has taken many different forms and has evolved dramatically in a variety of ways. People have commented that there may be a gap in my logic there. I don't think there is, and I've gone to great pains to explain why. One of the enduring effects of Gingrich's crotchets is the way they will institutionalize materialism through systematic violence, distorted religion, and dubious science. It's our responsibility to end Gingrich's control over the minds and souls of countless people. That's the first step in trying to balkanize his pugnacious terrorist organization into an etiolated and sapless agglomeration, and it's the only way to weaken the critical links in his nexus of childish opportunism.

Almost without exception, some day, in the far, far future, Gingrich will realize that there is no possible justification for the argument that obscurity, evasiveness, incomprehensibility, indirectness, and ambiguity are marks of depth and brilliance. This realization will sink in slowly but surely and will be accompanied by a comprehension of how Gingrich has been trying for some time to convince people that diseases can be defeated not through standard medical research but through the creation of a new language, one that does not stigmatize certain groups and behaviors. Don't believe his hype! Gingrich has just been offering that line as a means to cause pain and injury to those who don't deserve it. While there's no use crying over spilled milk, for the nonce, he is content to rule with an iron fist. But sooner than you think, he will lead us into an age of shoddiness—shoddy goods, shoddy services, shoddy morals, and shoddy people.

In public, Gingrich vehemently inveighs against corruption and sin. But when nobody's looking, Gingrich never fails to drain our hope and enthusiasm. I guess that my take on this is that if he can give us all a succinct and infallible argument proving that women are crazed Pavlovian sex-dogs who will salivate at any object even remotely phallic in shape, I will personally deliver his Nobel Prize for Uncouth Rhetoric. In the meantime, there is a simple answer to the question of what to do about Gingrich's "compromises". The difficult part is in implementing the answer. The answer is that we must reinforce the contentions of all reasonable people and confute those of prissy troglodytes. There's a lot of daylight between Gingrich's views and mine. He believes that science is merely a tool invented by the current elite to maintain power while I think that he will do everything in his power to undermine the current world order. No wonder corruption is endemic to our society; while Gingrich is out producing culturally degenerate films and tapes, the general public is shouldering the bill. Sadly, this is a bill of shattered minds, broken hearts and homes, depression and all its attendant miseries, and a despondency about Gingrich's attempts to reap a whirlwind of destroyed marriages, damaged children, and, quite possibly, a globe-wide expression of incurable sexually transmitted diseases.

I want my life to count. I want to be part of something significant and lasting. I want to teach delusional misers about tolerance. Gingrich yields to the mammalian desire to assert individuality by attracting attention. Unfortunately, for Gingrich, "attracting attention" usually implies "turning over our country to the worst kinds of foolish, indecent psychics there are".

I know some ghastly, froward dipsomaniacs who actually believe that Gingrich is a spokesman for God. Incredible? Those same people have told me that the rigors that his victims have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement. With such people roaming about, it should come as no surprise to you that if you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that he is on some sort of thesaurus-fueled rampage. Every sentence Gingrich writes is filled with needlessly long words like "scientificogeographical" and "electrotelethermometer". Either he is deliberately trying to confuse us or else he's secretly scheming to sell us fibs and fear mixed with a generous dollop of antinomianism. From this perspective, perhaps one day we will live in a world where good people are not troubled by fear of clueless crackpots. Until that day arrives, however, we must spread the word that if they could speak, the birds, snakes, and other creatures who are our Earth brothers and Earth sisters would unquestionably say that each rung on the ladder of absenteeism is a crisis of some kind. Each crisis supplies an excuse for Gingrich to use every conceivable form of diplomacy, deception, pressure, coercion, bribery, treason, and terror to sweep his peccadillos under the rug. That is the standard process by which vainglorious publicity hounds extract obscene salaries and profits from corporations that trade fundamental human rights for a cheap "guarantee" of safety and security.

Faster than you can say "pseudoconglomeration", Gingrich's bromides will offer hatred with a pseudo-intellectual gloss. The mere mention of that fact guarantees that this letter will never get published in any mass-circulation periodical that Gingrich has any control over. But that's inconsequential because I will never give up. I will never stop trying. And I will use every avenue possible to keep the faith. While his lickspittles have been gorging themselves on the intravenous feeding tube called denial, Gingrich has been seeking vengeance on those unrepentant souls who persist in challenging his philippics. That's pretty transparent. What's not so transparent is the answer to the following question: Why does he think that he has the trappings of deity? A clue might be that he and I are as different as chalk and cheese. Gingrich, for instance, wants to pursue a bad-tempered agenda under the guise of false concern for the environment, poverty, civil rights, or whatever. I, on the other hand, want to guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by Gingrich and his entourage. That's why I need to tell you that I call upon him to stop his oppression, lies, immorality, and debauchery. I call upon him to be a man of manners, principles, honour, and purity. And finally, I call upon him to forgo his desire to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Not to change the subject or anything, but I want you to know that Gingrich's little schemes are bound to fail. Knowing, as they say, is half the battle. What remains is to deal with Gingrich's infantile equivocations on a case-by-case basis.

We find among narrow and uneducated minds the belief that courtesy and manners don't count for anything. This belief is due to a basic confusion that can be cleared up simply by stating that Gingrich's eccentricity is surpassed only by his vanity and his vanity is surpassed only by his empty theorizing. (Remember his theory that elected national governments are not accountable to their own people?)

Gingrich's victims have been speaking out for years. Unfortunately, their voices have long been silenced by the roar and thunder of Gingrich's cronies, who loudly proclaim that shiftless, contemptuous bums and jackbooted crybabies should rule this country. Regardless of those blockish proclamations, the truth is that his incomprehensible factotums accept on faith that he is a refined gentleman with the soundest education and morals you can imagine. Nevertheless, I can state with absolute certainty that there is historical precedent for his taradiddles. Specifically, for as far back as I can remember, Gingrich has been using lexiphanicism as a weapon for systematic political cleansing of the population. Given how one psychotic activity always leads to another, it should come as no surprise that by refusing to act, by refusing to break the neck of Gingrich's policy of tuchungism once and for all, we are giving Gingrich the power to produce culturally degenerate films and tapes. As a parting thought, let these sterling words of wisdom be most thoroughly and attentively perused: Newt Gingrich refuses to do anything for himself.

Yours In D.C.,
K. Trout

Politico? (2, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32969994)

At Politico, roughly a dozen reporters have left in the first half of the year...

I'm supposed to feel bad because twelve people have left Politico?!! That stupid rag that reports on nothing but Washington insider back-biting? You know, if you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. Tell me when something to feel bad about really happens... you know, like... well, anything else.

Globe Trotting... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970010)

...it's gone the way of advances. Christ, who gets an advance these days? We've all but guaranteed ourselves a generation of desperate, sloppy writers who never have time to edit, and pump out as many snappy titles as they can hoping for hits.

Easy fix - just include a picture of boobies. (2, Informative)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970020)

Works for digg.

If you have a journalism degree... (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970058)

Then the only thing you're qualified to comment on is journalism. There's some call for that, yes, but not much.

Publishers have shot themselves in the foot (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970096)

It's the advertising model that's to blame. And the publishers are the ones who agreed to play this way, so you can point the finger there.

In the old days, a publication would go to advertisers and say, "We have a brand that's recognized blah-de-blah and we have a daily/weekly/monthly circulation of dee-da-dee, here are some studies that show who our average reader is, this is their purchasing power, do you want to advertise with us or not?" And if you were the New York Times, they would. No further questions asked.

I come from the world of trade publishing. You know those magazines like Information Week where you can fill out a survey and you get the subscriptions for free? That survey is what's paying for your subscription. That survey is what we take to advertisers to explain to them exactly who our readers are and how advertisers can expect to reach people in IT with purchasing power if they advertise in our pages. These "qualified circulation" magazines can often charge advertisers more than a regular, pay-for-subscription magazine can, because we know more about our readers (assuming the readers tell the truth, but ignoring that is a little game the entire industry agrees to play). Again, it's not about who the advertiser reached with an ad. It's about who they could reach.

That was the past.

Now, in a desperate bid to ignite the online advertising market, publishers have made a devil's bargain. Now they agree to turn over reams of Web logs for every page view they serve. The advertiser wants to know: Exactly how many times did you serve our ad? For what content? Who saw it? When was it served on a story that did well and when was it served on a story that nobody saw? How can we stop putting our ad on your boring stories and only put it on the stories that people like?

That last sentence is the kicker. You can see where it leads. More and more, the publication is compelled to stop running stories that aren't hits and only try to run stories that will be "viral" blockbusters. This pressure is incredibly difficult to ignore, but it's insidious. It erodes the judgment of the editorial department at any publication. It leads to the kind of story-chasing described in TFA.

And don't think blogs are going to save the industry this time. It's even worse at some unknown blog -- how are you ever going to get your voice heard if nobody visits your blog? So you need a headline. You need a sensational story. You'll do it just this one time, and everybody will keep coming back for all your other scintillating insights that aren't quite so sensational ... sorry, Charlie. It won't work. You'll end up doing it too.

The only way to fix it is for publishers to turn off the faucet. You want to see an exact breakdown of our Web logs and how your ads are skewing with what story, when and how? Fuck you. That's proprietary information that we don't release to our clients. Suffice it to say that we are a leading publication in our field. Take or leave.

But how likely is that?

Re:Publishers have shot themselves in the foot (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970300)

+1 insightful, if I had points.

Re:Publishers have shot themselves in the foot (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970566)

Someone's missing the point.

Charge more for the ads that go in the popular articles. Charge less for the ads in the unpopular articles.

The advertiser will pay for what he can afford.

As for the fact that ad revenues skew content to grab eyeballs, well, that's the bargain the journalist makes when agreeing to take advertisements.

Some things are better left to ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970252)

... our silicon overlords.

And, of course, some things are better left to our silicone overlords.

(Overladies?)

[captcha: paranoia]

Why burnout happens (4, Interesting)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970274)

This article states a truth which has existed for the better part of a generation. University for journalism is closer to an arts course than a science one; you can get through it with a good grade easier relative to other subjects like math or science which require a specific mind to get through and even then can prove challenging and time consuming.

As such graduates - which were never really 'taught' in a direct subject 100 years ago - emerge from university to a tough jobs market. Often they need work experience, plus a series of publications before say...a local newspaper will take them in as a low-level staff member. Due to constricting markets wages have fallen; graduates here in Britain are known to begin a job on as low a salary £11-12K (about $15-16K) per year with a slight rise when we enter the London Metropolitan borough.

Assuming you're 22, talented, and have enjoyed much of your degree and the possibilities it presents (perhaps being a young idealist you picture yourself as a roving reporter, or a foreign correspondant in exotic locales etc) - the reality is that you will, for years, have to sit in an office all day long and basically reword stuff coming in on the AP/PA/Reuters wire - all day long. Far cry from your modules which presented you with an adventurous trade. That's perfectly true; you can be sodding Tintin in this business but if you're like that then you aren't young because you wouldn't have the money to travel or do in-depth investigative stuff; not to mention that geniune investigative work is rare in the ink and paper side of the trade.

After a few months of copying out the wire, bored out of your mind, you've probably lost a lot of passion for the trade. You want out. The rose-tinted specs are off; and you are basically in a job where you are confined all day to an office with a huge workload that never ends because editors want the paper packed to the gills with stuff that's appearing in 10 other rags at minimum. If you have a bullying subeditor and/or editor it can be worse; the scare stories I've heard of breakdowns or young hacks in tears thanks to a dressing down in the ed's office are too numerous to all be fabrication.

I saw this crap early on, and was able to take up other work to supplement my freelancing which is a labour of love. I was saying to a Guardian journo the other day...I smile whilst out getting a story in the July sunshine and cool breeze, the greenery and ordinary folks going about their day - and then contrast it to vigil at the PA wire, lukewarm coffee and petty office politics that haunt young 'churnalists' whose talent is squandered under a constant flow of drudgery.

Would I trade my even-lower paid freelance job for £12 grand per year in the local press doing that? Not in this life.

It's making them stupid, too. (2, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970510)

Today I've had to reread sentences 4 or 5 times to figure them out, and all but one has turned out to say what it means, albeit in a roundabout way. The rest were missing words, used the wrong word in the wrong place, or denotated the opposite of the author's connotation.

This is in maybe 8 or 10 different articles from different authors.

Editors are nonexistent, and authors have become incredibly sloppy and indifferent.

The headline has become the content, and the reward for clicking on it is a reduction in your knowledge of the subject...

It's the consumer. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970556)

Let's face it, news and journalism today is not about disseminating information, it's about entertainment. But ultimately the problems journalists are facing are no different than what anyone else has experienced. Many people enter the working world with plenty of idealism and ambition. Unfortunately reality doesn't work as they had hoped and it turns out people have to work a lot hard than they had expected to get ahead. Sometimes things just aren't fair.

I'd say that many journalists probably start out with the particularly naive expectation that they're going to educate the world. Hell, it looks like a lot of professionals have this attitude, that their jobs are to educate. Their jobs are to inform us, to tell us what happened and nothing more. I don't want inconvenient details ignored, other aspects over-emphasized, or personal commentary. This is not to say there's no place for commentaries, but that's what editorials and talk shows are for. You know what you're getting with Jon Stewart or Glen Beck. But I sure as hell better not be getting opinion from Anderson Cooper or Katie Couric, but of course they can't help themselves. I can't stand it when they try to deliver a story in a dramatic manner, which is pretty much all Foxnews does.

Ultimately this is the fault of the consumer. They're the ones who eat up the crap they're fed. Journalism wouldn't be the way it is if it weren't for consumer demand. I do have a problem with news aggregators when they reap the benefits of someone else's work. But I've found that the most successful of these provide their own unique content. It's the only way to ensure loyalty. So what this means is that the landscape is changing.

Like I've said before, it's ultimately the responsibility of the individual journalist to find a way to thrive. I have to do the same in my career, why shouldn't a journalist be expected to do the same? What are we going to do? Start giving them bailouts like some are proposing?

The real concern I have is the rise of rampant bias. It's gotten for too easy for people to only expose themselves to the news they want to hear, that which agrees with their worldview.

Spoiled brats just can't do real work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32970740)

The children of affluent and privilege finally find out that hard work is hard. Sheesh, welcome to the real world where most people are underpaid and overworked.

They aren't Journalists (1)

GigG (887839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32970882)

With very few exception the people that write for the media these days aren't journalists. At best they are writers that ask a few questions now an then. They no longer have the know how to put a story together and investigate in even the slightest. If a story doesn't come to them prepackaged it doesn't get covered.

This is why they get so upset and act like a cover up has occurred when a story breaks and they haven't already been told about it at a White house press conference. They assume it is someones job to tell them about everything that happens.
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