QUOTABLE QUOTES ON JOURNALISM, PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE:
On media hype:
“Much of the media has only one volume these days, and that is loud.”
Howard Kurtz, August 23, 2011
The State of the News Media:
“Just as there are more people screaming and shouting, and also uncovering really interesting stories – something like WikiLeaks – there are also agencies and groups and filters that check and double check and triple check. We have never lived in a richer, better time for journalism and for information and for public discourse than we do right now.”
Nick Gillespie, Editor-in-Chief, Reason.com
NPR’s On the Media, November 5, 2010
“Broadcast news has been outflanked and will soon be overtaken by scores of other media options. The need for clear, objective reporting in a world of rising religious fundamentalism, economic interdependence and global ecological problems is probably greater than it has ever been. But we are no longer a national audience receiving news from a handful of trusted gatekeepers; we’re now a million or more clusters of consumers, harvesting information from like-minded providers.”
Washington Post OP-ED, Sunday, November 14, 2010
“And so, among the many benefits we have come to believe the founding fathers intended for us, the latest is news we can choose. Beginning, perhaps, from the reasonable perspective that absolute objectivity is unattainable, Fox News and MSNBC no longer even attempt it. They show us the world not as it is, but as partisans (and loyal viewers) at either end of the political spectrum would like it to be. This is to journalism what Bernie Madoff was to investment: He told his customers what they wanted to hear, and by the time they learned the truth, their money was gone.”
Washington Post OP-ED, Sunday, November 14, 2010
Jon Stewart: Media Critic:
“We’re just doing the math and then giving you the answer, and then asking you to check our work.”
— Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Tuesday, April 20, 2010, mocking Fox News Channel’s suggestion the crescent-shaped logo of the nuclear security summit might be an “Islamic image,” because of its resemblance to flags of Muslim nations. The White House says the logo is based on the Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom.
“I have not moved out of the comedian’s box into the news box, the news box is moving toward me.”
— Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Tuesday, April 20, 2010.
On protecting confidential emails:
“For me the biggest lesson for reporters, if you are going to have conversations with confidential sources, you should have conversations and meet with them face to face.”
— Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, commenting on the indictment of an NSA official on charges he divulged classified information to a reporter through hundreds of encrypted e-mails and then sought to destroy classified documents to cover his tracks.
“Well, you know, in the news business we say that a story has legs, if fresh developments keep it alive. And the truth is this story has more legs than a centipede.”
— John Allen, senior correspondent with The National Catholic Reporter, commenting on the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, NPR’s On The Media, April 9, 2010
Ex-New York Times Editor vs. Fox
“As for Fox News, lots of people who know better are keeping quiet about what to call it. Its news operation can, in fact, be called many things, but reporters of my generation, with memories and keyboards, dare not call it journalism.”
— Howell Raines is a former executive editor of the New York Times, writing in the Washington Post, March 14, 2010
On the future of journalism:
“The blogosphere is no alternative, crammed as it is with ravings and manipulations of every nut with a keyboard. Good journalism is structured and structure means responsibility…I would trust citizen journalism as much as I would trust citizen surgery.”
— Morley Safer, May 20, 2009, In a speech after receiving the 2009 Fred Friendly First Amendment Award from Quinnipiac University.
Thumb rules to live by:
“…an old rule-of-thumb in journalism … ‘When in doubt, leave it out.’ Actually, a better rule of thumb would have been verifying before publishing.”
— Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, March 22, 2010, writing about Polticio’s mistake in posting an allegedly fabricated memo.
On CNN’s new show, John King USA:
“We want to change the tone, …We want [our audience] to tell us how to communicate better.”
— Michelle Jaconi, Executive Producer, CNN’s John King USA
“To convince them to come back to television, we start with building a relationship online,” … You’re always smarter when you listen to the American people.”
— CNN’s John King
On why political analysis on TV is so often wrong:
“I mean, if you’re looking for deep political wisdom from Wolf Blitzer, you know, that’s like fishing for manta rays in the Gowanus Canal.”
— Dan Gross, Slate, on NPR’s “On The Media,” March 26, 2010
“The news media have long indulged themselves in the lazy luxury of being both data-hungry and math-phobic… You know, any other news that comes in over the transom, we check it out before we report it because that’s our responsibility. If it’s polling data, it’s too sexy, it’s too compelling. We’re all English majors, and we just want to pick it up and use it. We need to stop and check this stuff out too.”
— Gary Langer, Polling Director, ABC News, on the misuse of polling data, NPR’s “On The Media,” March 26, 2010
On the future of print:
“The best analogy I can think of is — have you ever heard of the Titanic Fallacy? Even if the Titanic came in safely to New York Harbor, it was still doomed. Twelve years earlier, two brothers invented the airplane. We are trying to convert shipping companies to airplane companies. Same business: transporting people safely across long distances. Different cost structure, different way of doing business, but the same core business. There is still a very vibrant business in shipping. It’s just not taking masses of people across the Atlantic. It’s now taking families around the Seychelles, or something like that. There will still be passenger ships, but they’re not going to be in the same business. So print will still be here, I believe, decades from now. But will it be the driving force? No.”
— Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Publisher of the New York Times, Oct 26, 2009, quoted in New York Magazine.
“Sometimes you feel like you’re riding a dinosaur toward the tar pits — but the dinosaur still makes money… that’s why we have to go digital without turning our backs on it.”
— Scott Broom, WUSA-TV Reporter, quoted by Howard Kurtz in The Washington Post, March 8, 2010.
On the unhappiness of “star” reporters in The New York Times newsroom:
“… they hung in a state of perpetual neurosis as they struggled to remain on top. In doing so they cultivated an environment of fear, distrust and agendas. The twin goals: protecting one’s turf and watching one’s back.”
— Gerald M. Boyd, MY TIMES IN BLACK AND WHITE, Race and Power at the New York Times
“There’s going to be a lot of mediocrity in this business, fewer people, more work. The chance of getting good at any one thing is difficult. The rewards are not the same. Where is the incentive to come and dedicate years of your life to this? I just don’t see it.”
“Now it’s blurred with entertainment. Who’s CNN’s No. 1 news figure? He’s a guy who hosted ‘The Mole.’ We all do the same five stories over and over. Six minutes on a story? Forget it. Rwanda could happen today, and we wouldn’t cover it.”
“The newscast is just not as unique anymore. You’re no longer the first thing for people with an appetite for information to turn to. You’re no longer the tip of the spear. People in the Pentagon were watching us! People in the White House! We were doing something that you felt was important. I felt I better be good at this, because this is important.”
“I feel lucky — blessed — to get on this train when I did. But in many ways, I represent the end of an era.”
— Leon Harris, Former CNN anchor, now at WJLA-TV, Washington, quoted in the Washington Post, Sunday, February 28, 2010; W14
“It is certainly my belief that while there will be a lot of journalism going on, the ‘brave new world’ offers endless opportunity, but the ‘cowardly old world’ offered pretty big salaries, and that that is going to disappear… and in that sense, I wonder if journalism schools, if they are not just breeding white rats only to have them killed in the laboratory.”
— Bob Garfield, NPR’s On the Media,” January, 15, 2010
“…a few cases recently where we’ve thought *way* too much before publishing. . . . There’s always a good argument for waiting. Let’s check to see whether the associated claim is true; oh, the source might be exposed. But we should publish anyway, making clear what we know to be true and what remains up in the air. . . . We can always update. We can always write a second post when we’ve established more of the facts.”
— Nick Denton, Gawker Founder, Memo to Staff, quoted by Howard Kurtz, in the Washington Post, Oct 19, 2009
“We are not a national news organization of record serving a general audience. Nor are we a wire service or cable channel.”
— Marcus Brauchli, Washington Post Executive Editor, on closing Post’s domestic bureaus, Wednesday, November 25, 2009
“The abiding lesson of “Googled” [the book] is that nobody realizes that they’re being displaced until its too late.”
— Jack Shafer
“2009 Bad News: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firing of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.
2009 Good news: A lot more people were tweeting.”
— Dave Barry’s Year in Review, Dec. 2009
“Journalism will do more than survive the Internet Age, it will thrive. It will thrive as creators and publishers embrace the collaborative power of new technologies, retool production and distribution strategies and we stop trying to do everything ourselves.”
— Chris Ahearn, President, Media, Thomson Reuters, from remarks prepared for the Federal Trade Commission’s workshop on how the Internet has affected journalism.