Assorted Journalistic Controversies and Dilemmas

19 Jan

As someone who’s been doing journalism for the last half decade of my life, I like to follow the latest news and quagmires that occur in the field. The last couple of days have yielded much ripe fruit for consideration (mine and yours):

1) Howard Kurtz Keeps Hilarious Error to Himself Until New Yorker Calls Him Out- New York Magazine: In late November of 2010, the much-respected Kurtz published an article about Rep. Darrell Issa on The Daily Beast. The article itself featured an interview with the representative. Or so Kurtz thought. Now, several months later, Kurtz issued a correction. It turns out he had been speaking with Rep. Issa’s chief-of-staff, who simply didn’t correct Kurtz throughout the interview, in spite of the fact that Kurtz repeated addressed questions to “Congressman.” It’s a shocking mistake from such a veteran reporter, and The New Yorker asked why it took so long for him to post a correction.

2) Close to Home, An Avian Emergency- New York Times: What? The “paper of record” published a lengthy blog post about a bird that crashed into one of their windows. Sad, to be sure, but worthy of an article? Slow news day? Seems like a joke that somebody published.

3) No Title- Flickr: As my editor-in-chief, Brian Fung, frequently chided us at The Campus, “Don’t put in nonsense headlines or you might forget about them.” Otherwise, this happens in the Times-Picayune:

4) Steve Jobs Went to Switzerland In Search of Cancer Treatment- Fortune: A fascinating dilemma with how to address off-the-record comments. In 2009, while holding an interview with Fortune, Apple director Jerry York told the paper that Jobs went to Switzerland in search of cancer treatment. York died in March 2010, so the paper decided the off-the-record agreement was off.  Should sources have to specify “off-the-record forever?”

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