As I've said before, the objectivity-fetishizing conventions of straight
news reporting make me crazy. It's not just the odd philosophical
throwback of implying that reporters can somehow avoid writing as
particular people situated in particular contexts. It's also the
convoluted copy, in which even plain facts can't be stated plainly if
they happen to be unpopular.
So I was glad when NPR released its new ethics handbook,
in which among other things the network states that it favors "truth"
over "the appearance of balance" and adds that "if the balance of
evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we
acknowledge it in our reports."
I certainly don't hear from as many PR people as David Roberts does, but
when I do hear from them it tends to annoy me for most of the same
reasons it annoys him: no hyperlinks, buried ledes, missing background
info, generally little evidence that the sender knows what I do or cares
if I consider his or her pitch. I particularly enjoyed item #6 on his
list of tips.
Two similar pieces are getting a lot of play this week: James Whittaker’s blog post about why he left Google and Greg Smith’s op-ed about why he left Goldman Sachs. Both
talk of their high level of company loyalty and enthusiasm in the past.
Both bemoan the changes in their respective corporate cultures that led
them to leave. Neither seems all that hopeful about his company’s
What neither of them does, however, is demonstrate that
the problem is that Google/Goldman Sachs used to care about more than
just making money but doesn’t anymore.
I've heard the Century referred to as moderate, center-left, progressive, left-wing--all from some who meant these labels as compliments and others who very much did not. Here's one I have not heard before: the Century is a conservative magazine.
My wife and I have been joking with our neighbors lately about TV ads that a
Super PAC supporting their cat, Kobie, might run against our cat, Owl.
Now Scott Simon's reporting on an ad someone actually made.