For the Record
Dean Wright on Ethics, Innovation and Values
There’s nothing like a disease outbreak to highlight the value of the media in alerting and informing the public in the face of an emergency.
There’s also nothing like it to bring out some of our more excessive behavior, essentially shouting “Run for your lives! (but, whatever you do, stay tuned, keep reading the website and don’t forget to buy the paper!).”
An outbreak of a form of influenza, which was known as swine flu before the World Health Organization changed the name, has killed scores in Mexico and infected others in the United States, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. It’s already having an effect on markets and travel plans, in addition to the obvious impact on public health.
Kidnapping isn’t funny.
Neither are extortion, hijacking or murder threats.
So why have some in the media been laughing—or at least winking—at people who have been doing precisely that—the criminals who have been hijacking ships and crews off the Horn of Africa and holding them for ransom?
Finally. The U.S. newspaper industry has come up with a brilliant solution to its profitability problem and will embark on a new wave of hiring journalists to staff its newsrooms and… Darn, I always wake up at that point, then turn to Romenesko to confirm that, yes, I was dreaming.
For those of us who have two or three decades behind us in our careers, the outlook is daunting. But what about journalists who have three and more decades of work ahead of them? How do they get out of bed in the morning and face the day?
The global financial crisis may have drained the coffers of investors, businesses and nations, but it’s making our language a bit richer as we discover, revive, coin and develop words and phrases to help make sense of it all.
This is the time of year when I’m reminded of how proud I am to work for Reuters News. So permit me to put criticism on hold for a moment and write a column of praise.
Chris Cramer is Global Editor of Multimedia at Reuters News and has editorial oversight of Reuters Insider, a multimedia information service for Thomson Reuters financial service subscribers that will be launched this year.
Media organizations the world over are currently focusing on the future of their businesses. As audience and viewer attention fragments and the internet fuels a wholly different kind of information consumption there are many siren voices suggesting that traditional media business models are dead, or in some cases on life support. Rising print and distribution costs and flagging advertising are driving even flagship newspapers and magazines to slash their costs, jettison journalists and production staff, and in some cases, go entirely out of business. In Britain, television companies like ITV — once described as having a license to print money — are reconsidering their entire business rationale and, crucially, their future relationship with viewers and consumers.
It’s Oscar time, and I’m again reminded of the debt Hollywood and journalists owe each other. Journalists supply Hollywood with great stories and Hollywood sometimes makes us look cool—or at least worth a couple of hours of time and the price of a ticket.
from Mark Jones:
I spent last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos producing content for reuters.com, running some experiments in new ways to cover a conference, and observing the growing integration of social media into a major mainstream event.
We had great success with giving our correspondents ‘Flip cameras’ with which to grab short comments from delegates on the key issues of the Forum. You can see some of these on our ‘Davos debates’ on the economy, financial regulation, environment, and ethics. The major learning point was that these were much, much easier to use than the mobile phones we used last year in Davos.
The president was inaugurated in front of adoring crowds and positive reviews in the media. As the unpopular incumbent sat on the platform with him, the new Democratic chief executive took office as the nation faced a crippling economic crisis. The incoming president was a charismatic figure who had run a brilliant campaign and had handled the press with aplomb. The media were ready to give him a break.
I’ve been tweeting from the World Economic Forum, using the microblogging platform Twitter to discuss the mundane (describing crepuscular darkness of the Swiss Alps at 5 a.m.) or the interesting (live tweeting from presentations).
Is it journalism?
Is it dangerous?
Is it embarrassing that my tweets even beat the Reuters newswire?
Am I destroying Reuters standards by encouraging tweeting or blogging?
(These aren’t rhetorical questions – I’ve been challenged by many people who would answer those questions as No, Yes, Yes, and Yes! I answer them as Yes, Potentially, No and No.)