Slay the hashtag!

The latest hashtag movement:

#WeStandWithWDBJ

Just like #bringbackourgirls and Kony and whatever else… it will fade away and people will go back to their normal routines and nothing will be done. (NOTE: Kony wasn’t brought down by a hashtag.)

Here is how “journalists” can honor the two killed live on TV (and I’m not going to quit using quotes or air quotes until we get some real journalists back in the media):

  1. They could quit defaulting to the simple mantra of gun control. YES, it’s a discussion, but it’s not the ONLY discussion, and the panacea of “no guns” is utter foolishness.
  2. They could decide to do more stories on mental health, mental health laws, adult mental health issues, reporting adults with mental health problems, and highlighting organizations that are doing more to help in the mental health area.
  3. They would decide to quit sitting at their computer terminals and following what is trending on Twitter and get their butts in the streets to actually do, you know, reporting. Find the story.
  4. They would refuse to allow blow hards to set the agenda for what headlines the evening broadcast and instead ask the blow hard a hard question in return and not stop until a real answer is given.
  5. They would quit reporting weather as “breaking news.” And put it back into a 30 second segment it deserves way at the end of the newscast.
  6. They would quit flashing “BREAKING NEWS” on EVERY broadcast. It’s foolishness.

Don’t stop with a stupid hashtag. Get out and revive your profession! Make it MEAN something. That would bring honor to two people who gave their lives for a mad man wanting more Facebook hits.

Journalism as a Dying Trade

I grew up thinking I would be a journalist. Lou Grant, the TV series after Mary Tyler Moore, was a favorite of mine.

Print media is dying, dead, beyond dead… whatever. However, does that mean we have to kill journalism as well?

The internet is a wonderful tool for me because I can access all kinds of viewpoints, but I can also access excellent writing and good journalism.

In my current hometown we have the Startribune. I haven’t read a print edition in years, but even when I did, I much preferred The New York Times. The Startribune doesn’t do journalism very well. Their writers don’t write. They repeat facts. And the facts aren’t always facts.

A great example is today’s news.

I still check up on the Kansas City paper online because I have to see how bad my old KC Royals are doing… but I will occasionally read their news articles because those folks can write. Consider two stories.

THIS ONE is about a Minneapolis cop accused of assault and the assault is caught on video tape. The piece online is incredibly short, though this assault happened about a month ago. Very little detail.

THIS ONE is a tragic story in rural Missouri about a guy high on meth who killed two sisters. It happened just this weekend and the story reads like a crime novel.

Good writing should still be a standard, even if it’s online. We shouldn’t give up on good journalism, but we, as a public, have quit demanding it. We do care for quality. We don’t care for facts. We care about our viewpoints and gathering sources that share our viewpoints.

And good writing is hard to find.