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Jul. 28 2010 - 10:38 am | 61 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Slow news: A movement we should all get behind

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We have collectively blundered into a P.T. Barnum media age when being first trumps being accurate. The economic rewards of the Internet flow to those who win the search-engine wars by being fast and furious rather than to those laggards who wait to be accurate and comprehensive. It is as if the motto of today’s journalism has become: “He who dies with the most clicks wins.”

Columnist Walter Shapiro

I have two deadlines so I shouldn’t write this.  And you do, too, so you shouldn’t be reading it. But life flies. Can’t miss stuff. Right?

Click. Lost you. Click. Back, huh?

Forget the humor. As Shirley Sherrod learned first-hand, today’s politics/media vortex sucks us in one minute  and spit us into a different strange landscape minutes or hours later. Everyone is dizzy. But is anyone smarter?

Now Walter Shapiro (in a column passed on by friend and former True/Slanter Jeff Seglin) is offering a solution: Slow news.  News that means something. News that concentrates on what’s important and verifiable rather than throwing stuff on a virtual wall to see what sticks — and gets clicks.

That’s it. Really  do have two deadlines. But enjoy Walter’s piece (linked here and above).

And Walter, do send me the slow news petition to sign.


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  1. collapse expand

    A noble idea and one to which I could subscribe, but I fear it has no practical application today. Things have moved too far in the opposite direction, so much so that traditional journalism as it had been practiced for hundreds of years may be relegated to the dustbin of history. Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but that’s the way it looks to me.

    • collapse expand

      Hi David,
      Thanks for stopping by. I hate to admit that I share your pessimism, but to considerable extent I do. A colleague sent me this eloquent note today. I think he’s premature in predicting the end of newspapers, but they certainly don’t dictate the agenda anymore. Regardless, his words bear repeating:

      “The lowest denominator seems to pull everyone else down to its level for keeps. The tone of coverage is persistently shrill and hyper — and the saving grace of newspapers is dead on the vine absent a miraculous comeback.
      It’s a Press befitting a society increasingly disconnected from reality with a cartoon mentality.”

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    About Me

    I teach journalism at Emerson College in Boston. I've coached writers at a dozen newspapers, blogged, written a couple of textbooks and a few columns. I'm also a former editor at the San Jose Mercury News before Knight-Ridder's demise. My passions are politics, travel, music, most things French, and the outdoors.

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