Steve Jobs Heart Attack Heart Attack Heart Attack (a.k.a. The Web 2.0 / Citizen Journalism mashup failure cocktail)
How to make 1 serving of Journalistic failure:
- Start with a couple of spoons of Web 2.0 jingoism, to pump the heart rates and emotions of all concerned and melting readers’ inhibitions and ability to discriminate fact from fiction.
- Add a wIki, a forum or other user generated content source to naturally spread out responsibility with no hub of accountability.
- Add a dash of twitter to concetrate the juciness and present the core information to millions worldwide with neither context or reference.
- Drop in one fully formed false fact to create a credible yet ultimately
- Drink with an open mind.
The recent brouhaha regarding the supposed heart attack of Apple’s Deity, Steve Jobs is just another example of why Web 2.0 “Citizen Journalism” mashups are fundamentally flawed.
I’ve always been a fan of eyewitness reports and blogs, but recently the two have become more and more intertwined in the case of the “New Press”.
Sure, just like traditional press, blogs and web journalists have been recently afforded some of the same protections, such as rights to conceal a story’s source and so on. However bloggers are playing both sides against the other: They are receiving protection by claiming freedom of speech abuse as soon as they get accosted for revealing trade secrets or defamatory comments and yet when it suits them, they play their blogger “rampant speculation presented as fact” card which enables them to release stories at much lower cost with titles that would make sensationalist tabloids like The Sun blush.
This then gets picked up, amplified and reflected by bloggers left and right in the massive echo chamber called the Blogosphere and before you know it, it’s become cold hard reality (virtually speaking, of course).
This so called “Citizen Journalism” when mixed with the user generated aspects of Web 2.0 seriously fails to meet the criteria which make modern press a keystone of any democracy: Veracity, responsibility, accountability and honour.
It fails to check the facts, take responsibility for claims made, and when the shit hits the fan, it points its finger at someone else like a six year old. Finally, in the event it is shown to be blatantly wrong, it makes some excuse like “well, that site got it right up till now!”
Now, I believe a part time blogger can be forgiven for such transgressions, after all, we can assume that they lack the resources to honestly confirm whether or not, for example, Steve Jobs had actually suffered a heart attack (And quite frankly, 10 million bloggers phoning Apple to confirm it would be counter productive, if anything).
The worst example of unfettered Citizen Journalism going wrong is when larger, more “responsible” organisations like CNN confuse first hand, eye-witness reports from multiple sources with unnamed, unconfirmed single source tips sent anonymously and in the orgasmic spasm of the potential world scoop, post before they even stop to think, “Is it actually true?”
Medium sized organisations, i.e. the majority of those publishing directly on the web, are in a difficult situation when they post false news from other sites. They are neither individuals who can dispense with their responsibilities, nor are they vast organisation with massive resources to spend.
They also state that they are on the front line of “the new media” and often state that they have insider knowledge from “reliable sources”, expecting us to believe them yet when those sources are actually needed to verify a claim, they are mysteriously absent.
If they Just admit that they fucked up, we’d all nod our heads and say, “Try harder next time!”
But instead they insult us trying to justify their mistake by pointing to the readers as the reason for presenting unproven fiction as fact.
“Errr… we thought the readers should know it anyway, regardless… And… err… intelligent readers will make up their own mind!” LMFAO! Yeah right: And Apple’s stock dives 10% off the bat!
Come on, this is not Journalism, by any stretch. This is shoddy echoing of user generated content ala Web 2.0.
Link… Read this long and sickening justification piece by Silion Alley Insider.