This Week in #Journalism: Kick-Ass Journalism à la Carte


Hersh says be Breitbartier, Bezos says be Amazonian, Best says be Kick-Ass and Democrats and Republican finally agree on something.

“When a journalist as well known as Seymour Hersh blasts his colleagues and recommends, in essence, that journalism must become what Andrew Breitbart fought for in the field, the mainstream media have no choice but to at least hear him.”  As Hersh says in his interview, “…just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Jeff Bezos’ customer-focused vision: “Does this mean give the customer what they want to read? Should editors choose stories that will be popular? It would mean giving up editorial control to the fickle themes of popular culture, and the loss of an editorial voice — the single most important feature that distinguishes and defines any newspaper.”  “Focusing on the customer is wonderful if you are a retailer because it’s easy to know what they want: low prices, speedy delivery, quick resolution of problems. The newspaper business is different.”

Filmmaker Charles Ferguson–director nonfiction film for CNN about Hillary Clinton: “After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud,” he wrote in the Huffington Post. “And so I’m canceling.”  “Neither political party wanted the film made,”  “the objection seems to be to journalism itself–and a sign that politicians believe that from here on out they will be able to run campaigns without bothering to deal at all with media that haven’t been paid for.”

Kathy Best, the new editor of The Seattle Times, “all of us in this room need to stay laser-focused on our mission: producing useful, meaningful, kick-ass journalism that readers can’t get anywhere else,” Jack Broom reports. Among her goals:  “Sunday newspapers that showcase elegant storytelling, along with watchdog and investigative stories” and “content that creates a strong sense of place, and connection to the community.”

“The conundrum in journalism today is that most people are not willing to pay anything for content. At the same time, there is a small pool of consumers that is willing to pay a large amount of money to see a story covered or content produced on a specific topic.”  “With crowdfunding, these same journalists can sell their journalism directly to readers without news organizations as mediators. Perhaps more importantly, it could be a model for true a la carte journalism consumption. Which is going to become more and more important as consumership gets atomized.” “That iTunes model of news all over again. It worked for music. We’re very close to finding out if it will work for journalism.”

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