Friday, February 26, 2010

Media La-La Land

By Frank Absher
I recently witnessed something that would have been embarrassing had it not been so blatantly sad.

An employee of the Post-Dispatch was speaking to a luncheon meeting when he was asked a question by someone in the audience. While I don’t remember the question, I do remember the content of the answer.

The Post guy told those assembled that he felt the credibility of media today, and of the Post, was as high as it’s ever been.

I waited for his punch line, but there was none. He truly believed it.

As if that weren’t bad enough, he went on to extol the virtues of the paper’s online presence, telling the crowd that they were even getting news tips via email! The implication was that not only is the paper on top of its game, but also that people are actually contacting the paper and providing leads on stories for the paper to research and cover.

If that isn’t a sure sign of success, what is?

Except that it’s no big deal, and the fact that he thinks that it is completely undercuts his credibility.

Apparently this pathetic soul had no idea that news tips have always come in to the media from the public, although the communications channels may have been a bit more primitive – say the telephone or snail mail.

It’s almost as though today’s media practitioners feel they’re the ones inventing the proverbial wheel and that no one who came before accomplished anything. I have friends who are senior staffers at the Post who are basically farmed out to one area of the newsroom where they won’t have a negative effect on these new media whizzes.

Of course this isn’t limited to the paper. It’s in all the television newsrooms too. If you have any kind of longevity, you’re a geezer.

This guy’s attitude was so sad that it became very clear to me there was no use trying to reason with him or present him with facts. He and his ilk will coast along in la-la land until the pinprick of reality bursts their bubbles. By then we will all have found better media to replace theirs, and these people will never know what hit them.

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