Opinion

Anthony De Rosa

Don’t dismiss the Wall Street occupation

Anthony De Rosa
Sep 26, 2011 15:11 UTC

It would seem that a populist uprising against corporate greed would find a widely approving audience, yet the current occupation of Wall Street has mostly been received with a mix of muted support and mockery. The now week old protest, which has been reported to have attracted several hundred activists this past weekend, is struggling to be understood.

There is no leader, by design, and the demands are still being formed by General Assemblies, a loose group of protesters who gather to discuss their grievances with what they see as a system that takes from the middle class and poor and protects the rich. They represent what they call “the 99%,” the population outside of top 1% of income earners.

Protesters complained early on that they were not receiving attention from mainstream media, so they took to social media, using the hashtag #occupywallst (and apparently spreading to #occupyboston #occupyLA #occupydenver #occupytexas #occupynola #occupychi #occupyphoenix as well,) sharing minute by minute accounts on Twitter, posting photos and video, and live streaming nearly the entire time.

The claims that there is a lack of mainstream coverage doesn’t seem to hold water, and could simply be a ploy to encourage even more coverage. The protests have been covered by ReutersThe New York Times, and major networksAnonymous and Ad Busters are major promoters and loose organizers of the protests but the movement doesn’t appear to be born directly from the groups.

Are they a mob of over-privileged, unemployed trustafarians? Many of them likely are. Does it matter? Dismiss them if you will, they’re motivated and mobilized. An apathetic population asked to foot the bill for the fallout from credit default swaps is exactly what the 1% ordered. The last few years the country has been told to fear an economic collapse if the masses fail to fork over what amounts to corporate welfare, and more recently, that more jobs will be lost if we close tax loopholes. Many claim that these protesters are anti-capitalist, but most are simply disillusioned by a form of capitalism they suggest is so far out of whack that the opportunity for bootstrap pulling is nearly non-existent. They propose that the current environment unapologetically favors the richest of the rich.

An interview with New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller

Anthony De Rosa
Jun 22, 2011 14:46 UTC

Editor’s note: This article spurred quite a bit of discussion on Twitter. If you’d like to join the conversation, use the hashtag #smnets. Carl V. Lewis storified some of the discussion that took place.

Bill Keller has spent the last eight years as executive editor of the New York Times. He recently announced he will step down from his post in September and hand it over to Jill Abramson, who will become the first female executive editor in the history of the paper. I asked Bill about his transition and some of the controversy around his statements regarding aggregation and Twitter.

You’ve been doing more writing as of late. Do you miss having the time to devote your energies to that entirely?

“Page One” film breathes life into The New York Times

Anthony De Rosa
Jun 14, 2011 21:03 UTC

On the surface, the story of a newspaper company during an age of digital revolution does not seem like the best candidate for a gripping drama. In the hands of Andrew Rossi and through the eyes of David Carr, Brian Stelter, Bruce Headlam, and Tim Arango there lies something akin to The Social Network for the news business, a movie uniquely capturing this moment in time.

There’s a scene midway through Page One when David Carr goes to meet the guys who run Vice, a brash and unvarnished multimedia content company that CNN just partnered with in an effort to court a younger demographic. “I don’t do corporate portraiture,” Carr tells them as they attempt to give him their pitch. Vice co-founder Shane Smith tries to make a case for why Vice is doing the job that the New York Times failed to do. “Everyone talked to me about cannibalism! That’s fucking crazy! So the actual — our audience goes, “That’s fucking insane, like, that’s nuts!” And the New York Times, meanwhile, is writing about surfing, and I’m sitting there going like, “You know what? I’m not going to talk about surfing, I’m going to talk about cannibalism, because that fucks me up.” Carr interrupts Smith for a history lesson “Just a sec, time out. Before you ever went there, we’ve had reporters there reporting on genocide after genocide. Just because you put on a fucking safari helmet and looked at some poop doesn’t give you the right to insult what we do. So continue.”

That moment sort of crystallizes the two worlds that Carr and the Times now live in. Countless outlets like Vice and others were born in an age where virtually anyone can cobble together a place on the media landscape, but often with little regard for those who came before them. Some are outright contemptuous of the Times and newspapers in general, as a few attendees at SXSW, the annual Austin gathering of digerati expressed by a show of hands that they would not miss the Times if it ceased to exist.

Traditional media’s refusal to enter the link economy

Anthony De Rosa
Apr 13, 2011 14:28 UTC

Blogger ethics tend to be better than traditional journalism ethics when it comes to linking to sources. It’s actually far more likely you won’t find a single link in any articles in most mainstream news publications online. Sometimes they may even write out the source, but won’t link to it.

Here’s an example of where the New York Post cites TV Newser and Mediaite, but refuses to link to either. Both Newser and Mediaite are generous with links to their sources. Apparently the New York Post is a common offender. The Post has gone so far as to have allegedly admitted, by way of correspondence from one of their reporters, that they in fact have a policy to not credit blogs (or anyone else) if they can verify independently after they’ve been tipped off from the source they choose not to cite. Other parts of News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch’s empire, which includes the Post, may have the same policy as well.

Recently, NBC New York used a good deal of their reporting from a post written by NYC The Blog, which does excellent coverage of stories that often fall between the cracks, and does so with great detail. The author of the post originally did not bother to mention his source, then added the mention, but has yet to link to it.

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