The sad slide of journalism into a mucky mire

When exactly did journalism slide into the mucky dregs of so-so-ism, and flagrant misrepresentation of facts? George Clooney's arrest brought this to my mind, well not really. It was the ABC's Otus report that brought it to my mind.The story starts out good, then we see this paragraph placed in # 3 spot. This means, that at least 1/3 of the story is about what is said in this paragraph. So we're on the same page:

Also among those arrested as a mob of reporters and cameramen looked on were Clooney's Father Nick Clooney; President of United to End Genocide and former Congressman Tom Andrews; Congressmen Jim McGovern, D-MA, Al Green, D-TX, Jim Moran, D-VA., and John Olver D-MA; Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous; and Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast, according to a police statement.
Does that make your ears prick up? Do you just want to click on the link and read about these congressmen who got arrested, too? Did they pay the $100? Oh, you don't know about that, yet until you get past the third paragraph.

The rest of the story is about celebrities and their agendas, only the writer actually means their charities, and mostly about Clooney's concern for the Sudan and the charity Enough Project. That's all well and good, but it isn't how the story began or what it emphasized at the beginning albeit in the third paragraph. In journalism, you start with the bare facts, what is most important and you make sure that you don't digress into afterthoughts, or side trails until the third from last paragraph. The same holds true for feature stories, too. It's just basic journalism, but I guess things have changed in the last three years since I was lifestyles editor... or has it? In my opinion, journalism has sunk to a new low, and I'm almost positive there is no way to pull it out of the mucky mire.
Post a Comment