Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Exclusively behind

Under the banner "Exclusive" (in print, but not on the Web) my local paper is trumpeting this morning that a man hit by a Highway Patrol squad car has sued in federal court,

But then there's this line:
Calvin Rucker, 25, said in the suit filed last month in U.S. District Court in Columbia ...

So let's see. If I read that right, the suit is at least eight days old, and probably more than that (the paper does not have the kahunas to say when it was actually filed - so much for editing).

This on a beat where the public records are pretty public and where it used to be that being even a couple of days behind on a major lawsuit was considered shameful. But how times have changed, eh? The reporter on this was tied up out of town at another trial last week, and the paper, racked by staff cuts, apparently doesn't have the forces to even make routine records checks. And, of course, there's little competition from broadcasters whose news shows otherwise are ripped from the police blotter.

Sounds like another business opportunity for someone equipped with a low-cost Internet space and a little free time.

As long as the effective motto is Yesterday's news tomorrow (or in this case, last month's news this month), there is no wonder as to why mainstream journalism is being relegated to an afterthought by more and more people.

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At 10/7/08, 2:28 PM, Blogger journalismguy said...

Bottom line (which is increasingly becoming more obvious): Journalism isn't as good as it used to be--even with all the toys, technology, workshops...you name it. It's on the decline. Sad but true.

At 10/7/08, 3:25 PM, Anonymous John Robinson said...

We stopped using the "exclusive" tag a couple years ago because it was too hard to determine if the report was actually exclusive. With so many bloggers, TV stations and other publications, how do you know what you have exclusive?

The short answer is, you don't. And if you think you have it exclusively for the newspaper at 11 p.m. and you don't come out until 6 a.m., that exclusivity is in question.

With the rise of citizen journalists, the wiser course is to let readers decide what's exclusive. When they read something, they'll know whether it is news to them or not.

At 10/7/08, 4:35 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Well said, John.

At 10/7/08, 9:39 PM, Blogger Neil Robinson said...

Great comments John. I am Neil, a Journalism student from a University in the UK.

I'd like to subscribe to your blog. How do I do it?

At 10/11/08, 3:10 AM, Anonymous nick said...

Also news today for tommorrow.


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