Surprise! Unpaid internships go to well-off kids because they can afford to work them. Paid internships also go to the well-to-do because of their well-connected parents.
Not to worry, nobody is addressing this crisis.
As noted by the program, journalism is one of the worst professions for discrimination against lower socio-economic classes. The fact that I’m not able to do unpaid internships is one of the primary reasons that I’m not employed. I’ve had numerous job interviews in which I’ve been told that I “haven’t paid my dues” in the trade by working unpaid internships.
As a former foster child, I’ve never been able to work for free.
While I can focus on my own experience, I’m more greatly concerned for what this means for journalism as a trade.
Increasingly, journalism is disconnected from society as a whole as the trade becomes monolithically upper-middle to upper-class with a strict orthodoxy. No institution can become exclusionary without eventually collapsing upon itself due to the stagnation that results.
That’s the self-interest argument to business to end unpaid internships and to address socio-economic barriers that exclude talent exclusive of merit.
Yet another journalism site is hacked and still we don’t discuss information security?
Reuters has been hacked – yet again – for the third time this month.
Another false story is published, but it doesn’t become widely spread. Why? People have learned to distrust sensational headlines published by Reuters because of previous hacks.
Hacks as a creditability problem for journalism
Creditability is all that journalism has to offer that can’t be replicated or innovated out of value. Creditability involves many factors, increasingly, information security is a crucial component of protecting our most valuable asset.
This means having secure unique passwords and using 2-step authentication when available.
Reuters has the resources to implement secure solutions such as 2-step authentication, it’s time for them to do so.
Sadly, I’m not the slightest bit surprised to learn of a higher education reporter serving the interests of those they are covering instead of those who they are writing for.
Daniel de Vise, a reporter for the Washington Post (which relies on Kaplan for revenue), allowed University of Texas at Austin public relations officials to provide critical rewrites of draft versions of his “investigative” story about standardized college exit tests that are sweeping America.
What de Vise didn’t count on is Texas’ strong independent press conducting its own investigation into his “investigative” “reporting”.
The Texas Observer is just one of the state’s independent non-profit journalism outlets and used freedom of information legislation to obtain emails between UT and de Vise that reveal unethical practices by de Vise.
Non-profit independent media is going to restore public confidence in journalism. While the short-term effect of this story will be a continuing decrease in public trust, it’s long term impact will be purging unethical practices from for-profit journalism. It’s the purging of those practices and the return of accountability media criticism that will improve journalism and make us as a whole trade worthy of public trust once again.
Service journalism is a dying genre. As the journalism trade becomes a monolithic profession, it loses touch with the struggles and realities of those born into the lower socio-economic classes of society. Sure journalists go into these communities, write a few stories, collect some journalism awards, pat themselves on the back, and feel we’re making a difference, but to the people that live the reality of poverty, we just another “drive-by”.
I come from Hamilton’s housing projects, I’ve lived most of my life below the poverty line. As one editor recently told me, I have a “conflict of interest” when it comes to reporting on socio-economically marginalized communities. It’s a conflict of interest I’m proud to embrace.
The recession has hammered many neighbourhoods and communities, but this story isn’t being told.
National Geographic may be about to change that. For the first time in the publication’s history, it will run unedited, user-generated content – stories from one of American’s most impoverished communities, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
It’s important that people who are disenfranchised from the “mainstream” of society are giving an opportunity to speak in their own voice. Too often, we pigeon-hole people into predetermined narratives.
Most importantly, by having their story told in their own voice, it becomes unique and will be harder for the powerful to ignore. Service journalism is not about parachuting in-and-out of a community, it’s about empowering that community and making sure its voice is heard.
As I was redesigning my website, I considered highlighting “exclusives” and/or “scoops” as is a common practice in journalism.
I quickly decided against “exclusives” because I see it being a term that’s primary purpose as become hype and lots all meaning. How many times do we see “exclusive interview” and the same person promoting something in every media outlet? Then there’s the exclusive that’s purchased by the journalist in a deal with the public/promotional agent. The PR agent “gives” a journalist “exclusive” “scoop” on a “news” story – in reality, the journalist just become the servant of the manipulative PR agent. They are no longer a journalist in the noble potential of the trade.
A false idol
More importantly, it’s a false idol. It’s chasing information but not for it’s value, but in the hope of promoting it’s momentary rarity. In the age of instant information, an exclusive lasts the time it takes a professional journalist to press CTRL+V and CTRL+C, which is why it’s a futile goal to aspire to.
Chasing exclusives exposes journalists to manipulation. As the primary goal is getting an “exclusive”, the journalist loses their sceptical inquiry and loses focus of our sole purpose – providing accurate information to our readers. We become self-serving egotistical dangerous proprietors of partial, or even worse false, information.
Media manipulation made easy
Read master media manipulator Ryan Holiday’s frank piece describing how he uses the “exclusive” bait to inject false misleading information into the media:
Once, during a very public lawsuit, I introduced a narrative into the media (that bloggers had refused to pick up and research when I tried to sell them on it) by composing a fake internal memo, supposedly leaked by an employee of one of the companies in the suit, and sending it to bunch of blogs. The same bloggers who were uninterested in the facts when I informed them directly, gladly put up posts about it that screamed “EXCLUSIVE!” and “LEAKED!”
Holiday’s piece should scare anyone who cares about the quality of the public discourse. He outlines in gory detail just how easy it is to manipulate the media to spread falsehoods: “A system where top media executives and owners explicitly acknowledge their preference for money over a quality product is a manipulator’s dream.”
The “exclusive” is part of the rotting root system underlying most of our media.
Not seeking exclusives doesn’t mean not wanting to publish in a timely matter
I believe the two most valuable content types are real-time actionable intelligence (real breaking-news) and long-view reflective pieces. I strive to succeed at both – what good is knowing about changes made by City Council the day after they are decided?
I often publish information first – but only after verifying it. Sometimes, I don’t publish information because I couldn’t meet my standards of verification. I never regret being “scooped” by others. If I started to be bothered by getting “scooped”, I’ll have an emotional incentive to cut concerns.
Avoiding emotional incentives
That’s the primary reason I no longer publish screaming “EXCLUSIVE” headlines. There’s a huge emotional rush to being first, it’s a rush I enjoy and I need to control my emotional rush.
Being taking away the “EXCLUSIVE” banner, I remove one incentive. I also increase my focus on the story and its quality.
I remember my first exclusive at Maclean’s, I celebrated for days. Exclusives while writing for The Silhouette, I enjoyed those as well. Back in my days solely blogging, I enjoyed scooping student newspapers on the other side of the country.
Misinformation destroys credibility, chasing exclusives is turning your back on readers
Not a week goes by that I don’t receive some anonymous tip that looks convincing at first glance. However, upon attempts to verify, it turns out to be false or misleading.
All a journalist has is their credibility, the brand of the outlet one writes for is quickly losing its value as the determinant of how one’s writing is viewed by readers. Taking false exclusives will quickly diminish and eventually destroy my credibility.
My credibility should not be the top reason I refuse to fall into the exclusive trap. The top reason is it doesn’t serve the reader, the reader doesn’t need any single site, they don’t need any single journalist, they don’t need an “exclusive” story. (Especially the false exclusives that dominate our mediascape)
It’s time for ORIGINAL to replace EXCLUSIVE
Imagine if journalism valued original content as much as we do “exclusives”? What would the typical news site look like then? Would our trade’ss standing in public opinion improve so we’re not racing with politicians in the public disdain race?
I strive to find stories that don’t arrive in the form of a press release. I don’t want every story I write to be “called in”. The news doesn’t happen at my desk, it doesn’t happen in a newsroom. It happens in the city, and that’s where journalists need to be. Original content is my goal each and every day.
Original stories, original insight – that’s a goal worth getting up in the morning for.
My group of friends from high school, all nerds like me, remains tight-knit. Despite going to different universities, now living in different areas, and different paths, we continue to gather on a regular basis in Hamilton. We’ve even picked up a few new members of the group along the way. There are two occasions each year that we all come together – Canada Day (which we didn’t do this year) and March Birthdays.
We have a lot of members with their birthdays in March, including myself.
So, planning begins right after Canada Day and here’s the current plan, according to Jeff who is planning 2013:
Going to lay down some preliminary information which can be changed.
Saturday, March 23, 2013, at 9:00pm.
Location: Bloilers bar un queensykn road somewher
Dinner beforehand at
337 Highway 8 (whatever is there in 2013 if the place opens back up as something that has food, otherwise we bbq in the parking lot)
Boilers, our refuge after the demise of the DayNite. (East Enders will get that reference.)
Hamilton Port Authority — Supplementary letters patent
BY THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT
WHEREAS Letters Patent were issued by the Minister of Transport (“Minister”) for the Hamilton Port Authority (“Authority”) under the authority of the Canada Marine Act (“Act”), effective May 1, 2001;
WHEREAS the board of directors of the Authority has requested that the Minister issue Supplementary Letters Patent for the purpose of increasing the borrowing limit set out in section 9.2 of the Letters Patent from $5,000,000 to $45,000,000;
WHEREAS, by Order in Council P.C. 2012-826 of June 19, 2012, the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 8(5) of the Act, approved the provisions of the proposed Supplementary Letters Patent increasing the aggregate limit on the power of the Authority to borrow money on the credit of the Authority for port purposes;
AND WHEREAS the Minister is satisfied that the amendment to the Letters Patent of the Authority is consistent with the Act;
NOW THEREFORE under the authority of section 9 of the Canada Marine Act, the Letters Patent are amended as follows:
1. Section 9.2 of the Letters Patent issued to the Hamilton Port Authority is replaced by the following:
9.2 Restriction on Incurrence of Borrowing. The Authority shall not incur any item of Borrowing so that the aggregate Borrowing of the Authority would exceed$45,000,000.
Issued under my hand to be effective this 4th day of July, 2012.
Denis Lebel, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport
As well, the appointment of Matthew Moccio to the Hamilton Port Authority for a three-year term was Gazetted in this issue.
Hamilton was hit hard by a sudden popcorn thunderstorm that brought marble to golf ball sized hail, torrential downpours, and power outages just before 3pm this afternoon.
The formation of the storm, as indicated by radar records, points to lake breezes to be the likely fuel for the cells that suddenly formed south of Hamilton between Lakes Erie and Ontario.
Lake breezes are both Erie and Ontario converge south and west of Hamilton, helping to fuel some of the isolated storm cells that have brought flooding and severe weather to the city in the past.
The most infamous of these “popcorn” thunderstorms was the July 7, 2010 storm that flooded the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Earlier that day, I looked at the weather patterns and saw the potential for a strong popcorn storm. I called David Phillips at Environment Canada.
Our conversation turned to popcorn thunderstorms and how influential lake breezes are on Hamilton’s summer weather.
Listen to an excerpt of that conversation, it applicable today: