Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Telling Inside Story from the Washington Post

This is a remarkable piece of newspapering by Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton, the kind that gives an inside look at a dying business model and a good dose of understanding of what it might take to revive that piece of the journalism pie.

Last week, a difficult one overall for the newspaper, a young--very young--journalist involved in the newspaper's "aggregate" blogs quit after making a couple of mistakes. Because of the nature of the work, the mistakes were all but inevitable. There was simply too much to do, too few checks and balances, too little experience, no guidance or training and a lot of pressure.

That situation is common in newspapers and I've heard the same complaint often about the local daily here. It is remarkable to me that the work gets done at all and that it has any quality, but it does. What is also important here is that the Post has an ombudsman to write about it, to embarrass the people who perpetuate this professional atrocity.

The business end of newspapering is simply awful and getting worse. Blogging is part of what could salvage some of it, but if these management numbskulls don't treat their people better, it won't do that. Young reporters need support and teaching from veterans and when they don't get it, guess what happens?

It's really sad.

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