Journalism is a profession

Lots of responses and unprecedented traffic for Tuesday’s Apple/NSA piece.

In a comment on that post, Tom Nemec expressed a fairly common idea about journalism.

  • I guess the issue lies with the business model of most sites relying on advertising and sponsorship, which makes them dependent upon said practices. Their major goal is to generate lots of page views and (often times accidental) clicks on banners and links. In order to fulfill this goal, one has to focus on popular topics and make them accessible to the lowest common denominator of the public.

My response, which I wanted to get into a separate post:

  • This has been a frequent response. But journalism is a profession, like medicine. Suppose it was profitable to set bones, but not profitable to treat cancer. You go to the doctor complaining that your cancer is acting up again. He puts your arm in a cast and sends you home. Oh he has to make money you might say. But the patient dies.
  • In this case the journalists are supposed to cover what’s actually happening, not what makes money for them. Or if they do they can’t complain when they get called on it. The whining among reporters has been pretty subdued this time, because I think they’ve more or less figured this out on their own. A big bait and switch has taken place, with them as the instruments of it. The tech CEOs they’ve been pumping up act all innocent “Oh we never knew this was going on!” they say. Oh yeah that’s believable. 😉
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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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