Infotainment: A Disney World of Democracy

If you have not yet seen Bill Moyers’ June 8 interview with Marty Kaplan on Big Media and the impact of money on communications, and especially broadcast news, this is a most see.

Kaplan founded and heads The Norman Lear Center, which studies politics, entertainment and commerce and their impact on us, and he discusses how broadcast media have dumbed down — and taken us for the ride.   

Continue reading Infotainment: A Disney World of Democracy

Quickshots: November

What was it like to be the top press photographer in New York City in the days “Before the Paparazzi?”

The Deadline Club has issued a statement concerning the arrests of journalists at the Occupy Wall Street protests:”The Deadline Club condemns the actions of the New York Police Department in detaining journalists who were covering the Occupy Wall Street protests on Tuesday, Nov. 15 and on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. As the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Deadline Club believes that a free press is a cornerstone of our democracy and opposes any police interference with journalists in the lawful pursuance of their reporting. We urge that any journalists who are in custody be released and that any charges against the detained journalists be dropped immediately.”

I was baffled to learn about media blogger Romenesko’s (temporary?) dismissal from Poynter because of alleged plagiarism. I relied on his insight many times and his service to the media industry is invaluable. Here’s a thorough analysis of the case by Robert Niles of the Online Journalism Review: 

“Romenesko found a new way of communicating attribution that renders old “rules” about attribution irrelevant. Journalism leadership that focuses on the ends our ethics are supposed to guide us toward would have recognized that. Leadership that focuses on rules for rules’ sake, wouldn’t have. And didn’t. It’s clear from this episode that something does need to change at Poynter. But it wasn’t Jim Romenesko.”

You can continue reading Romenesko’s media analyses on his website.

Reminiscing: Internet 1996 vs. 2011 Where were you?

Quickshots: October

A great example why print still works: The Occupy Wall Street Journal is a 4-page broadsheet that is widely distributed among protesters downtown.

“Forgive an old newspaper hack a moment of sentimentality, but it is somehow reassuring that a newspaper still has traction in an environment preoccupied by social media. It makes sense when you think about it: Newspapers convey a sense of place, of actually being there, that digital media can’t. When is the last time somebody handed you a Web site?” (David Carr, “A Protest’s Ink-Stained Fingers“, New York Times).

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In Is Journalism As We Know It Becoming Obsolete?”, Mathew Ingram debates the question that Dave Winer (Scripting) raised in his blog post, where he argued that it is obsolete “because everyone can do it”. Winer writes, “Now we can hear directly from the sources and build our own news networks. It’s still early days for this, and it wasn’t that long ago that we depended on journalists for the news. But in a generation or two we won’t be employing people to gather news for us. It’ll work differently.”

You should know my point of view by now. And if you agree with the notion that journalism is an old hat, why are you reading this blog? Ingram (and I happen to agree with him) argues that everyone has their own definition what journalism is, “but I think it’s fundamentally about a spirit of inquiry, of curiosity, of wanting to make sense of things. It’s something like the spirit of scientific inquiry, as Matt Thompson noted recently in a post at the Poynter Institute. It has very little to do with specific tools or specific methods of publishing.”

Yes, anybody can access sources and write. But we still need those of us who can curate the flow of information, put it in historic and political perspective and digest the findings. We are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Journalism, says Ingram, “is a state of mind.” Yes, indeed.

“A new generation of web entrepreneurs has discovered the joys of charging users cold, hard cash. […] If we’re lucky, this trend will save the Internet from one of the most corrosive forces affecting it — the bloodless logic of advertising,” writes Clive Thompson on Online Ads in Wired Magazine. “I predict that in 2050, we’ll look back at the first 20 years of the web and shake our heads. The craptacular design! The hallucinogenic business models! The privacy nightmares! All because entrepreneurs convinced themselves that they couldn’t do what inventors have done for centuries: Charge people a fair price for things they want.”

I agree! Thanks, Clive. But what took you so long to discover this? And do you pay for what you read online?

  ♦

Very sound advice:

“Online publishing has made it deceptively easy to become a publisher. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Back when editors and publishers were gatekeepers, there was someone who was reviewing your writing. Content creation, like any other art form, generally improves with practice. If you haven’t ever written for the web or you’re just a bit rusty, you should consider practicing more in private. Working out your routine in private is far less damaging to your brand than producing sub-par content.” (Buddy Scalera, “Content Strategy Tip: Write Awful Content”) 

World press trends: Newspapers still reach more than internet. “Circulation is like the sun. It continues to rise in the East and decline in the West,” said Christoph Riess, CEO of WAN-IFRA, who presented an annual survey at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in Vienna, Austria. Nicely put.

Quickshots: September

“It was computer technology (particularly Apple) that put typography into the hands of all of us. And it’s computer technology that is relentlessly picking it apart, devaluing expression in a misguided attempt to demonstrate that you’re too busy coding to make anything look trustworthy or delightful.” (Seth Godin in “The web leaders hate typography (but not for long)”

I agree wholeheartedly. In case you are interested in typography, this is a must read: “Why do the points on Futura in letters like A and N rise slightly above and below the heights of other capital letters? Purely a design decision? Residual choice from old printing techniques?”

New and old meet.

According to a 2010 Project for Excellence in Journalism study, aptly named “The Blogosphere: New Media, Old Media,” 99 percent of news links on blogs came from legacy outlets like newspapers and broadcast networks. “Despite the unconventional agenda of bloggers, traditional media still provide the vast majority of their information. More than 99% of the stories linked to came from legacy outlets like newspapers and broadcast networks. American legacy outlets made up 75% of all items. […] Web-only sites, on the other hand, made up less than 1% of the links in the blogosphere.”

Shut those down and what have you got? Kittens on YouTube.

What, The Byliner and The Atavist both pay for original written content, aka the labor of a writer, who worked on a story that will bring in ad revenues, clicks, eyeballs and…readers (ahem, unique visitors)?

Shocking.

“Like The Atavist, The Byliner’s business model offers its writers an initial fee (reportedly topping out in the low five figures for the biggest names) and then splits revenues 50/50. “

Isn’t that a given for a good business model, one that values its workers? And you need a pat on your back for that? 

Oh, that reminds me: How can an online journalists work when the Internet is full of unpaid blogs? Join the National Writers Union, NYC, on Oct. 11 for a panel discussion. The panel will also be streamed live at PayTheWriter.org.

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook

Americans spent a total of 53.5 billion minutes on Facebook in May, according to a new Nielsen study. “As long as Facebook and its new partners are still motivated by their bottom lines, coming changes are […] kind of scary. As Facebook marches toward its inevitable IPO, the social network walks a very fine line between being a profit-generator and a protector of 750 million users’ privacy preferences. It will be interesting to see how Facebook’s users (and its competitors) feel about all of this.” (Forbes Magazine, “Facebook’s Makeover Is A Little Scary“) .

Facebook execs say that Timeline will be “like meeting a friend for drinks and spilling your soul until the bar lights flicker for closing time.”

Is this a joke? To me, Facebook feels like a trendy nightclub, where everyone that you know — or barely know, or have already forgotten that you know or have tried to tune out — lounges around in their PJs and watches your every move. Cozy, huh? Here’s more on Facebook: CNet: “Facebook changes creeping out some customers” and via All Things D: “Facebook Boldly Annexes the Web

I am on Facebook, but I don’t “spill my soul” there. Are you, Zuckerberg? Wait, don’t answer that…

Interesting article in the New York Times, “All The News You Want, When You Want It,” on how apps help create customized magazines, leaving out what we don’t want. But, admits the author, he goes back to the newsprint version often to seek in-depth reporting that he has possibly missed. “[T]he news app experience is different from reading a newspaper section by section, page by page. I feel informed, but I always have the nagging feeling that I missed something important or that I am reading the news superficially. I go back to the newsprint version during the day to seek in-depth reporting that I may have missed by skimming. Sure, I saved longer articles to read later on my apps, but I don’t always do that. At least gathering the newspapers for recycling is a reminder to glance through them to be sure I did not miss something important.”

New needs old.

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Computer-generated content is on the rise: “The leaders of Narrative Science emphasize that their technology would be primarily a low-cost tool for publications to expand and enrich coverage when editorial budgets are under pressure.”  (The New York Times, “In Case You Wondered, a Real Human Wrote This Column“)

Is that supposed to make us feel better?

The Onion’s editorial department will be relocated from New York to Chicago next summer.

I doubt that it will find as much satirical material there. I guess, the fiscal bottom line is more important. I feel for you. 

Remember this one: “8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live“? “At 4:32 p.m. Tuesday, every single resident of New York City decided to evacuate the famed metropolis, having realized it was nothing more than a massive, trash-ridden hell hole that slowly sucks the life out of every one of its inhabitants.”

We’ll miss you, Onion.

Quote from the movie Contagion: “Blogging is not writing; it’s graffiti with punctuation”. Except mine, of course.

Told ya! Return of the Editor: Why Human Filters are the Future of the Web: “Before news aggregators, content curators and Google’s omnipotent algorithm, the world’s information was sorted by real human beings. In the web’s next phase, argues The IdeaLists’ Karyn Campbell, the old-fashioned editor is poised for a comeback.”

Yes, Please!

In case you’re concerned: Print is not Dead. Really.

“Last summer, Paul Steinle and Sara Brown took shoe leather journalism to its extremes. The husband and wife couple, retired journalists and academics both, set off on a 50-state trek to gauge the state of the U.S. newspaper industry in the midst of digital transition.” Their findings: “Market size matters. Local news and watchdog reporting are indispensable assets. There’s no holy grail for digital revenue models.”

Feel better? 

Quickshots: June

NYTimes’ Bill Keller in “The Twitter Trap“: “… [B]efore we succumb to digital idolatry, we should consider that innovation often comes at a price. […] I wonder if the price is a piece of ourselves. […] Basically, we are outsourcing our brains to the cloud.”

At left, my own rant.

And here is more on Twitter: “Twitter is building a machine to convert 140 characters on Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher, narcissism, the struggle for human freedom and Starbucks into cash — and quick, before its moment passes. Is this asking too much of even the world’s best technologists?” asks Joe Hagan in New York Magazine under the headline “Tweet Science”.

No, it is not.

This PBS story, “Children and Facebook: The Promise and Pitfalls for Social Media,” reminded me of another quote by Keller: “Last week, my wife and I told our 13-year-old daughter she could join Facebook. Within a few hours she had accumulated 171 friends, and I felt a little as if I had passed my child a pipe of crystal meth.”

Bill Moyers on the Daily Show: “I try to figure out the difference between the important and the immediate […] News is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity. […] We amuse ourselves to death.”

 

David Carr of the New York Times says: “I don’t believe in the sort of bifurcation of old and new. The whole ‘we’re old world media, we make phone calls and we put them in the newspaper’ and ‘we’re new media and we grab whatever’s in the ether and put it up.’ There’s been this steady march toward each other and what you’re doing is no different from what I do.” More here.

♦ 

Very interesting article in the NYTimes “In Praise of Not Knowing” (June 18). “It’s fun being In the Know, but once everyone’s in it, there’s nothing to know anymore. […] I hope kids are still finding some way, despite Google and Wikipedia, of not knowing things. Learning how to transform mere ignorance into mystery, simple not knowing into wonder, is a useful skill.” 

 ♦

There is so much wrong with this blogger’s assumption that journalism is dead and its market value is zero in the digital age, but he argues his point well and that is what good communication is all about. Judge for yourself.

And here is a counter argument in the discussion whether the value of journalism is zero, posted by Newsosaur, a blogger whom I respect a lot: “The Value of Journalism, Sir, Is Not Zero”. 

 ♦

Are the 700 Gannett layoffs “a vote of no confidence in the future of print by America’s largest newspaper company?” According to Poynter, they are indeed. Humph.

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You’ve got to be kidding me: “Women Still Don’t ‘Get’ LinkedIn” (via The Atlantic). Nonsense. According to TechCrunch, “Women rule the Internet. [They’re] the routers and amplifiers of the social Web. They are the rocket fuel of e-commerce. If you figure out how to harness the power of female customers, you rock the world.”

Do you have a LinkedIn profile yet? No? Get going. Here’s mine.

Gail Collins on Women Journalists

New York Times columnist Gail Collins was the keynote speaker at New York Women in Communications annual meeting on May 17, 2011. She spoke about the evolution of women journalists — from being denied entry to the National Press Club in the 1970s, where even the restrooms were off-limits to them, to covering world events today.

Collins credited her success in journalism to the trailblazing women that came before her, who paved the way so that her own fight was made easier.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-itrDSRrh0E?rel=0&hd=1]

Yes, women have indeed come far. But not far enough. As a reminder, read Mika Brzezinski’s account (“Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth”) on why we value our work less than our male colleagues’ and how to get equal pay for equal work.

Listening to Collins’ speech was heartwarming, not only because of her wit and intellect but because of her down-to-earth, unpretentious demeanor that is lacking in too many media personalities and stars.

And I was reminded again how complacent many young journalists and almost-media-starlets are. I don’t see many who have Collins’ inner strength and determination to fight for women’s rights.

“A feminist? Me? Hell no.” Their dream jobs are working for Lifestyle or editing Cosmopolitan or Vogue — not covering Washington politics or the Pentagon. They want to work for Lucky and Us Weekly, not Wired or Foreign Affairs. At New York Women in Communications, I have met many a student and young professional who yearns to be the next Oprah and gets weak knees when coming face-to-face with senior fashion and beauty editors at NYWICI panels.

As broadcast journalists and magazine editors, they, too, will get caught up in superficiality in the hunt for the lowest common denominator, pleasing advertisers to get ratings or ads.

And as copy writers at advertising agencies, they, too, might come up with sexist ads like this one (why did the woman agree to take part in the ad, I wonder. But ladies, that is another story that you should investigate).

Soon, we’ll be back in the 1970s. Gail Collins will tell you what that was like for women journalists. You’d be surprised.

That could happen, because trailblazers like Collins, Helen Thomas or Carole Simpson can, and could, do only so much. You will have to pick up the torch someday if you want to have an impact that lasts beyond your career, even if it is just for your own dignity. Because even on a really bad hair day, there are more important things to worry about.

Remember Lara Logan? Get out there and be heard. Don’t sell yourself short.

Newsweek’s Peppy News Speak

Long before the first issue of Tina Brown’s revamped Newsweek hit newsstands, critics already questioned its future. Regardless, the new editor promised in her inaugural column “to re-create a great institution after its journey through tough times. What a magazine can offer readers is a path to understanding, a filter to sift out what’s important, a pause to learn things that the Web has no time to explain, a tool to go back over the things we think we know but can’t make sense of.

And?

I don’t want Newsweek stubbornly clinging to its past, but I resent the empty notion that a few new fonts and colors make an old magazine more “hip” and thus more relevant in today’s media quick sand. Don’t insult my intelligence while trying. Print magazines will never compete with interactive media hipness, whatever that means. Why should they? They need to provide the content and context that gets lost in the immediacy of the newsy, noisy Web. In that she’s right. Magazines need to offer enough value that I’ll keep them around for a while, even reread them or use them as a resource. Every article should have a quote to remember and make me think. I don’t believe that is too much to ask, but Ms. Brown doesn’t deliver.

The second issue of this new “filter” has entered the superfluous space of fluffy magazines and is anything but. The readers have not become part of the discourse, nor are their voices heard. I am sure that they are evenly divided between those who like the new look and feel and those who don’t. Brown, however, is not interested in a dialogue with her audience. All three letters and tweets to the editor about the new design that were published in the second issue praise its “oomph,” and its “sharp and engaging” look. How is that, to quote Tina Brown again, “making sense of it all”?

Content

But to be fair, I can’t evaluate the content beyond the two issues that have been published so far (I will revisit the topic here in a few weeks). For now, I will just say this: I was baffled that the first two issues managed to give a combined 5 pages to the Charlie Sheen story (as I am sure Talk Magazine would have eagerly done). Sheen even manages to get his headshot on the cover, a pathetic little thumbnail of a pathetic little man, squeezed to the outer lower edge, right beneath a burning house floating in a sea of debris in Japan. Quite a “path to understanding,” Ms. Brown! Cheers for that! But if this is the extent of your “filter to sift out what’s important,” as you promised, at a time of economic hardship, turmoil in the Middle East and Japan on the brink of nuclear meltdown, I’ll pass. Oh, and we also get introduced to the future British princess or whatever her title will be pouting in her underwear. Awesome.

Design

The magazine looks cheap with an unpleasant ‘70s feel. The headlines state the obvious and could appear in any British tabloid or the New York Post (“Nightmare in Japan”). Its myriad of font types, sizes and weights, and an overall confusing black-red and blue color scheme with tiny visual elements are dizzying. The new section names — NewsBeast (yes, we get the connection), Omnivore, The Big Fat Story, XTRA INSIGHT — come straight out of Highlights for Children. Many of the black & white pictures should have been color, while some color pictures would have been more expressive if left in black & white (including Charlie Sheen and the British royal what-ever-her-name-is in her nickers).

The graphics, logos and headshots that accompany the columns are flimsy, sort of Wall Street Journal-ish but out of ink (or too much of it) and less graceful. Some articles use so many blog heads, subheads, bylines, decks, intros and haphazardly positioned oddly rounded drop caps and horizontal and vertical lines in various thickness (in, you guessed it, red, black and blue) as well as bold lead ins and pull-quotes that I am exhausted before I even get to read the rest of the copy. Oddly enough, there is also a lot of white space in all the wrong places and that is equally distracting. I initially merely skimmed the articles because I was so puzzled by the style elements that were supposed to draw me in. Brown seems to be strongly opposed to “less is more”. Black is her color. Bauhaus be damned (but I doubt that many of her copy editors know what that even is). Whatever! We prefer to be, like, bloody hip.

The problem is not the busy layout; the problem is that the layout is unimaginative and uninteresting; nothing innovative happens here. Nothing like the layout of Wired Magazine that uses every thinkable and unthinkable element of text and graphic style to give each page and section its unique modern feel. But they use old-school elements (think Bauhaus again): geometry, straight clear lines and optical illusions; color schemes that provide depth. Graphics that are sleek. They use the various fonts as artistic tools. With them, more is really more. In comparison, Newsweek’s “hip new look and feel” is overzealous and amateurish. You want peppy? Try again.

Verdict

“Having read the [first] issue front-to-back,” writes Jack Shafer in Slate, “I can report that the gaps remain, the agenda has not shifted, and the crackling, confusing digital dots are still scattered at random on the floor.”

I agree. If Tina Brown’s goal is to reincarnate the serious, in-depth newsmagazine with analysis and good writing, I believe she drives on the wrong side of the road. Most of the content as it stands now could easily find its place on the Daily Beast website or in O Magazine and People. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t pretend to reinvent the newswheel. I expect from an engaging, relevant print newsmagazine to provide me with challenging long-term analysis, investigative reporting, a focus on the bigger picture and an in-depth look at what has disappeared under the screaming fluffy radar of new media. I want brilliant writing, a way with words that sets the bar high for the reader. Long-narratives written by seasoned, sharp writers who bring with them the broadest and widest outlook possible. Writers who have seen the world and can provide context to the news. Writers who challenge me and my views.

None of the content in this magazine comes even close to that yet. For now, it is just one more outlet for an editor with a big ego.

180,000 Crazy Twitter Users

Had to get this off my chest!

What do you make of this stunt? Does this bother you as much as it bothers me?

Social Media are great, but I think some people are slowly losing sight of the gist of it all: Providing meaningful content/context and engaging with others. Learning or offering new insights and giving some productive feedback.

Too hard? Then leave the field to people who are serious about communication and connecting with their peers.

Just go away and find another venue to bother us. May I suggest link harvesting, engaging in dubious SEO practices (the New York Times has a few suggestions here), spamming or phishing? You’d be good at it.

Summer Laziness and Mob Mentality

For this one lone August post, I can blame summer laziness, not media fatigue, even though I have many times come close to just giving up on the state of the media and where we’re headed.

My tagline reads “Old Media and New Media Meet”, and that is sometimes hard to come by. Old and new are still behaving like third graders who compare the size of their ice cream cones. It’s not either-or; neither will get far without the other. So, here is a small list of the positive things that each side will bring to the table. Merging these will lead to better communications, no matter the platform.

Old media bring depth, when needed, tight control over the quality of the writing (editors, copy editors, proof readers), sincere fact checking and an army (or what was once an army) of investigative reporters and writers who know their beat, have the right connections and get out there to cover the news. Oh, yes, and they get paid and have the resources to follow their noses. Old media still adhere mostly to the rule that one needs more than one source to get the story right and that you draw a distinctive line between reporting, commentary and advertising. Old media raise issues that readers are not always aware of, or don’t think they need to know but should.

New media bring immediacy, the collaboration of many to a story, the interaction with the readers, the ability to constantly update and supplement a story with new facts, links, info graphics, audio and video. It is a many-to-many approach, and as such rather democratic: no matter where you are and who you are, your voice is part of the whole. You can decide what you want to read and customize your daily media intake. You become the editor.

I, for one, need both, the old and the new.

Many of us in media, however, see only doom and gloom lurking around us. We’ve lost our jobs, our self-esteem and careers, and our work is being taken for granted by young web editors, who crash with their parents but then tell us our hour’s work of writing should be worth less than what they get babysitting their neighbor’s kid to supplement their own meager income. Now, they say, everyone is a journalist, a photographer, an editor and writer, or so it seems. Content should be free, they beam, and they advise us old timers to be happy to get a byline and a thumbs up on Digg.

I want to share with you a moving blog post from the blog Headlines and Deadlines. The writer muses about her “blogging breakdown” amid the state of old media:

“Lately I haven’t had many thoughts about journalism or newspapers, at least not any that would stand sharing. Because recently, Blog, I have found it increasingly hard to negotiate the choppy waters of ‘changing times’; I have, if you like, lost my compass. I have striven to be optimistic about newspapers and the future but sometimes the words rang very hollow indeed.”

I hear you. But no, it’s not all downhill from here. One way or another, people will come to realize that words and content still matter. They will miss getting lost in a story, once they’re left with only snippets of bullet-pointed search-engine-friendly written content; “voices drowning one another out”, as Jaron Lanier wrote in an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “World Wide Mush.” And he continues: “When you have everyone collaborate on everything, you generate a dull, average outcome in all things. You don’t get innovation […] creativity and excellence.”

Admit it, new and social media by themselves are not enough to get the whole picture. Surely you’ve come to the same conclusion, when you got lost in a Google search the other day and ended up spending hours on Facebook before you picked up a magazine or a paper.

I believe, we still have a choice: to become a numb collective with a short attention span, that regurgitates what advertisers, public relations people or celebrities want us to talk about. Or we could merge old media’s values with new media’s possibilities and not get lost in the crowd.

Media Behaving Badly

You remember the pillars of old media, you know the ones that many now proclaim being obsolete, old-fashioned and slow: objectivity, using more than one source, digging deeper and not falling for people who proclaim they know the truth without questioning their motives? Oh, how all circuit breakers have failed this week.

After a conservative blogger posted an edited version of a speech given by a federal official, Shirley Sherrod, that was meant to prove that she practiced reverse racism against a white client, all media outlets, old and new and mainstream and what not, were up in arms about her alleged misconduct. The White House even fired the woman. But they were wrong, they apologized, the full video was shown and she was offered her job back. Apologies accepted?

Not so fast. The frenzy to stay on top of the news, to be the first to raise issues, forced the media to throw away again a few good old values of old media of days past: present the entire story, dig deeper, provide background, question every claim, use more than one source, and, above all, stay credible.

Was it really so hard for bloggers, reporters, editors and armchair commentators to watch the 45 minute video in its entirety and only then to report on it? Did they really have to rely on a short, edited clip, taken out of context to form an opinion? Was that too time consuming? Even a 24/7 news cycle needs to abide by and honor fairness, credibility and objectivity (at least in news gathering). Otherwise, it’ll turn into mere content mush without much substance. And nobody would want to pay for that. Oh, wait. We don’t pay for online news. Maybe we got what we bargained for.

Poynter explained how the story spread and engulfed the media sphere:

“Welcome to the modern news cycle, Shirley Sherrod. Even in today’s fast-paced media cycle, your trip has been more jarring than most. In a few weeks, most people won’t remember your name. They may, however, remember something about you. What, exactly? Well, that depends on when and where they heard about you. […] What’s left after all these waves? Not much news. Just another day at the beach, watching the media surf the breakers.”

And here is how PBS Newshour’s executive producer summarized what had happened:

“In our judgment, this story was about how a combination of supposedly responsible organizations and institutions handled a misleading piece of information that first surfaced on a website with an avowed political agenda. The press, the administration and the interest groups involved all have blame to share for prejudging Ms. Sherrod’s words before understanding their original intent and full context.”

So, for all those who haven’t seen the entire speech (and dear editors: a simple YouTube search would have helped you get the facts), here you go. Judge for yourself and point fingers at the right direction: The media, old and new, conservative or not. Now, go, cover the other issues at hand.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9NcCa_KjXk&hl=en_US&fs=1?rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6]

Top illustration: John Cuneo, Wired Magazine.