Reed here, Eric’s away on vacation this week, enjoying the warm Mediterranean sun, I’m told. But go read his long Nation article on what America might expect out of a “President Romney.” I warn you, however, that afterwards you might need a stiff drink, or another kind of diversion.
As such, here’s my favorite, probably overlooked, performance of these London Olympic Games so far. Yes, golden girl Abby Wambach can work the refs with the best of them and, sorry my friends from north of the border, but yes, your keeper had it coming. (Let’s just hope Wambach doesn’t start using these keen powers of persuasion for nefarious purposes, like being a political spokesperson, since it seems a certain campaign might be in the market for a new one quite soon.)
Now here’s, well, me.
Forgive Those Who Press Pass Against Us?
by Reed Richardson
Recently, the folks at the Poynter Institute have been debating editorial strategies for protecting against journalism malpractice, in general, and, more specifically, identifying dangerous habits in young, promising writers before they snowball into career-wrecking episodes. Episodes similar to what we’ve seen (and, I suspect, will continue to see) with the rapid downfall of wunderkind Jonah Lehrer.
Their discussion, however, has been mostly focused on the journalistic equivalent of mortal sins—plagiarism, fabrication, lying, egregious quote doctoring, and so forth. But as Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark argues, a news organization shouldn’t bother training new reporters to avoid this kind of flagrantly unprofessional behavior, it should simply expect it, and then police them to make sure. And save for those extremely rare instances such as Lehrer, Jayson Blair, or Stephen Glass, they do. That’s why I’m more curious about the media’s more venial sins—those smaller, daily transgressions and subconscious bad habits that, while they don’t violate any laws or professional ethics codes, can still exact a reputational cost on the press over time. And there is perhaps no better crucible to observe some of these journalistic peccadilloes in action than the highly charged atmosphere of a political campaign.
So, I’m starting a kind of occasional, ongoing series to identify, document, and classify these sins as I run across them. As I am but one man, I welcome outside input, so feel free to send in the best (worst) examples you might find as well.