Sunday, 26 June 2011

The new face of journalism

Latest New York Times supplement   (suggested)

  Yesterday in the Toronto Star Kathy English, Public Editor wrote the following:

With more journalism programs graduating more students, and the recession-battered media industry continuing to cut costs, unpaid internships have become the new normal, raising valid concerns that only those who can afford to work for free will become journalists.

In some cases, none that I know of in Canada, interns are even paying for the “privilege” of unpaid work, hiring consultants to help them land internships. Last year, an internship at the Huffington Post went for $9,000 at a charity auction.

  This is the new face of mass media journalism – unpaid interns doing the heavy lifting, cut staff in the workplace, cut and paste investigative journalism (I’m guilty too but I’m not making money out of this and I reference my sources), misleading editing and corporate PR masquerading as informed, independent reporting. The Huffpo had this job description listed in the employment section yesterday.

Huffington Post Intern - Lifestyle Photographer

Company: AOL

Location: New York, NY

Date Posted: June 25, 2011

Requisition # 121540BR Posting Job Title Huffington Post Intern - Lifestyle Photographer Brand Huffington Post Media Group Market Location US - New York - New York City Position Type Intern Posting Job Description The Huffington Post's home & garden site ShelterPop is looking for an intern to act as our roving photographer for interiors, portraits, and man on the street shots. This is not a photo internship that will keep you inside, calling agencies and cropping images, but rather a gig that will have you meeting the most stylish folks on the streets of New York as well as inside some of the most fashionable city interiors. If you love The Selby and The Coveteur but secretly think you could do better, we want you! The ideal candidate will have a flexible schedule (2-3 days a week), their own camera, lights and tripod as well as excellent composition skills,  an interest in design and a  collaborative spirit. This is an unpaid, for-credit internship…

  So work in New York City for free in one of the most expensive places in the world and supply your own equipment while the big A gets $300 million for selling the company. Nice business model! As Bruce Weinstein, Business Weeks Ethics columnist says, “As long as the intern gets what is promised, it doesn’t violate any ethical principle.” Suck it up you socialists. This is the world we live in.

  The corporate indoctrinated editors aren’t any better. The lead for an article by Harry Bradford in the Huffpo on Friday 23, 2011 was “Low-Income Americans More Often 'Very Happy' Than Middle Class: Poll (Harris poll released on the same day)”. If you check at the bottom of the article, it states:

“But it's not the poorest Americans that are least happy. When broken down by income group, it's those earning between $75,000 and $99,999 that were least satisfied, with only 29 percent found to be "very happy." Those making the least, under $34,499, were actually the third happiest income bracket out of five (groups). People earning $100,000 or more yearly, were the happiest, with 37 percent feeling "very happy."

  This is quite a bit different and more nuanced than the lead so the casual reader would assume money doesn’t buy you happiness so why are those losers complaining – a subtle support for the inequities in American society.

  The most dangerous and least known consequence of the `new journalism’ is the spread of ideological positions of the right through front organizations posing as independent think tanks which the news organizations use as cheap copy masquerading as informed, independent reporting dug up by the diligence of their staff.  It may help their bottom line but the danger to democracy is evident. Here is a map of the Koch brothers’ connections to influential information organizations and individuals.


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