Commentary: Why journalists quit the profession

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There are 3 comments

  1. koretzky

    While not your main point, your first crime scene resonated with me. I’ve only ever lied once to an editor. I was covering a traffic accident that killed two people, and when I told my editor I couldn’t reach the next of kin on the phone, he said, “Go knock on their front door.”

    My stomach dropped. So I drove off but never went over there. I came back and said, “No one answered.” I simply saw no journalistic need or nobility in doing so, but I didn’t want to get fired, either. (That would happen a few years later.)

    This was 1991. So that aspect of journalism has always sucked.

  2. mattjduffy

    Funny that Koretzky focused on that. I had same reaction. The news value of probing every death in a car accident seems dubious.

    I appreciate the rest of the commentary. David just had too much piss and vinegar for that newspaper. His actions (going around the editor) are hard to defend. But, his heart is in the right place and sometimes doing what’s formally wrong is not the same as being unethical.

    David’s points about journalists forced to rely on PR people is on target. I do think it’s getting worse.

    I think targeting all the news media with these ills (e.g., no “backbone”) is overly broad. Obviously lots of news outlets are fighting the powerful and their PR-narratives every day. Read the AJC. They’ve pissed off plenty of local public officials. The Pulitzer Prizes continue to show examples of journalism that is serving the public.

    David, I think, will return to some form of media. He’s got the journalism bug real bad. His actions fighting the state government over public records shows a deep and laudable desire to fight the good fight. Perhaps he’ll just land at an outlet with more similar values.

    Maybe they’ll even call him a writer.

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