I was unable last week to watch the unfolding coverage through Twitter and media web sites of the Fort Hood shooting.
I was traveling Thursday and teaching Friday, and simply couldn’t follow all the developments as the “facts” of the story kept changing. While I’d love to comment on the story and the coverage, I don’t like writing unless I am better informed. So I’ll just call your attention to some commentary I read on the the shootings and the coverage:
- Dan Gillmor noted how confusing and inaccurate the breaking coverage was and wished for some slow-news coverage.
- Newsosaur Alan Mutter criticized the “ugly ethnic profiling” of some of the coverage.
- Glenn Greenwald lamented the “media orgy of rumors, speculation and falsehoods.”
- Greg Marx in CJR noted that the confusion surrounding the tragedy did not prevent pundits of all stripes from claiming that it validated their opinions.
As John Robinson noted in a Twitter exchange yesterday, being right is better than being first. Journalists should hustle to be first with important developments in breaking news stories, but we should not sacrifice verification (and we should understand that sometimes we seek verification from official sources who have their facts wrong).
Other interesting things I’ve read the last day or so:
Mobile advertising. I have noted before that mobile revenue streams are an essential part of the future of media, and that news companies need to do more to develop the audience, the technology and the revenue streams. A post by Dan Butcher on Mobile Marketing reports that mobile advertising is three to five times more effective than online advertising.
Hyperlocal journalism. Mark Coddington of the Grand Island Independent wrote a thoughtful blog post on the challenge of hyperlocal journalism in rural areas.
Doing “more with less.” Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, correctly called out one of the big lies of today’s workplace, particularly today’s newsrooms. As reported by the Nieman Journalism Lab, Keller told his staff that you can’t do more with less, though lots of people making cuts will tell you that you can.
To do more with less, you have to change what you’re doing, usually by using technology smarter. Computer-assisted reporting let us do more with less. Pagination let us do more with less. Perhaps crowdsourcing and community engagement will help us do more with less, though I think we’re way too early in our experience with them to know that.
But when you just cut staff (and I’ve been involved before in making cuts), you’re going to do less with less. I’m pleased to see that Keller is having no part of this lie that too many bosses have told too many times. “What you can do with less, is less,” Keller told the Times staff.