Violations of Constitutional rights, sadly, still happen quite a bit in the United States. Many of those violations are far worse than abridging freedom of speech and of the press since they ruin or even end lives. I don’t in any way mean to imply that this is the worst infringement of rights or belittle other, more serious instances.
That said, reports that the LAPD has issued a list of media approved to cover a raid of the Occupy LA camp is particularly egregious since the LA press is essentially condoning the infringement of its own rights.
The media by definition has a platform to report on and expose violations of the first amendment. If they fail to do that, that alone is basically consent. But beyond that when reporters like Shelby Grad of the LA Times and Dakota Smith of the LA Daily News allow their names to be put on a list like this, I see it as their declaration that it’s okay. And that doesn’t even touch on the Fox and CBS affiliates who are openly not showing images they’re “not allowed” to show.
As a journalist I would never let my name be associated with something like this, and I’m extremely disappointed in Smith, Grad, the Times, the Daily News, the AP and Reuters and the TV and radio outlets that apparently disagree. They should be ashamed of the precedent they’re setting and I only hope their consent doesn’t encourage other government bodies to follow suit and tell their local media who can cover the news and what they can and can’t report.
Thoughts on Medium First journalism
A couple weeks ago (back when I originally meant to write this) Steve Buttry, Director of Community Engagement and Social Media for my employer’s employer Digital First Media, wrote a series of five blog posts about the philosophy and workflow of Digital First journalism. It’s essentially a blueprint for the company and a road map to what they see as the future of the industry. (If you’re a journalist and haven’t read them I highly recommend you do so: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 )
I agree with what he says. It’s all true and it’s all necessary for the survival of print media companies. (Not for journalism as a whole, that will survive regardless of the medium, but that’s another post entirely.) I don’t mean for this to be a disagreement with his posts because it’s not; I’m thrilled with Digital First because finally we’re being run by people who get it and for the first time in years it looks like my hometown papers the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune will not just survive but thrive.
That said I do have a fundamental problem with not just the posts but the philosophy in general: The focus is still on the medium rather than on the goal. Continue reading →