jellyfish.jpg

(Photo of jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium by Thomas Hawk.  Love the color in this shot — that blue is just gorgeous with the glowing orange.)

The continuing saga of reporting what you see versus reporting just enough to give a little news but not tick off any particular demographic past the point that advertisers might get uncomfortable: (via Attytood)

Well said, but what really has me scratching my head is this:

Mike Sims, director of news and operations for CBSNews.com, said he believes stories on the website can strike a more opinionated tone than those that air on television, as long as they're clearly labeled.

Why not allow Pizzey to give some of those strong opinions — if you must, "clearly labeled" — on TV, where millions more are watching than are reading his blog? Clearly, his informed, first-hand views of life in Baghdad are quite powerful, and engaging. The role of television news, or any kind of news, is to both inform and entertain — and aren't Pizzey's opinion pieces both more entertaining and frankly, in an instructive kind of way, more informative than those two-minute "objective" news pieces?

In an era of shrinking audiences for network news, newspapers and all other old-style media, why are we utterly terrified of putting our best stuff out there where the most people can see it? Someone might disagree? Fine — bring back that "Free Speech" segment, and let the debate begin.

Sometimes I swear the news business has a death wish.  (emphasis mine)

Personally, I think "objective" is just marketing speak for "doesn't piss off a segment of our advertisers so much if we water it down."  Which means, for viewers anyway, much less information wedged in to the cracks around much more fluff.  I got an e-mail earlier in the week from a "recovering reporter," who had read my Saturday piece on "battered press syndrome," and this truly says so much:

I've lived and worked in Washington and…I find I have a few good weeks in me there and then I begin to be just like everybody else. Weird place. No division between personal and professional. I get kind of a vertigo, know what I mean? I lose my horizon and have to get out to get my equilibrium back.

So why should expect these poor dorks to live there year after year and have any remaining independent judgement left? So, I say, squad A flies in for a few months, from around the country, and then they get relieved by reporter squad B, freshly trained and studied up. Maybe there should be overlap, like half the squad laps half the new bunch for a couple of weeks….get some new hungry guys in there who don't think they know as much.

Frankly, I think the whole Beltway could do with a few weeks of reality somewhere else.  Including, especially, the folks in the news management and ratings department. 

PS — Dan Froomkin issued a correction to part of the column that inspired part of my battered press piece linked above.  And I wanted to note that for the record, because Dan is a precise kinda guy in that way — but also because, frankly, the fact that the initial reporting was even plausible in anyone's mind at first read is, truly, a big part of the problem.