After getting roundly hammered for his asinine post yesterday, BU journalism professor Chris Daly apparently decided that he hadn’t sufficiently proved his lack of insight and threw up several hundred more words of absolute drivel. It’s hard to tease out the biggest laughlines, but here are a couple of start with:
“As a professor of journalism, I work with dozens of talented young people every year, and I know just how capable they are. I also know that they often need guidance, backgrounding, and careful editing. I regret leaving the impression that people in their 20s are somehow inherently unqualified to cover presidential politics or anything else.”
“Like many blogs, mine is a venue for criticism, analysis and commentary. It is not an outlet for reporting or research. I googled Mr. Bacon to begin to address the question, Could experience have been a factor?”
So, to summarize: Daly defends his own ignorance by writing that the young’uns out there need “backgrounding and careful editing”…and then goes on to say that he didn’t have any responsibility to provide any kind of background, context, or careful analysis because he declined to do any reporting and research before publishing online. (This last point is particularly ironic in light of a piece Daly has posted on his site titled “Are Bloggers Journalists?” in which he invokes the two Thomases: Paine and Jefferson.) As a j-school professor, Daly sure raises some interesting points, such as: Does a self-proclaimed professional journalist and educator have any responsibility to maintain any standards when writing for his blog, which heralds his profession (www.journalismprofessor.com) and his professional affiliation? What standards should blogs be held to if they want to be taken seriously? Etc, etc. Unfortunately (for his students, anyway), Daly raises these issues implicitly, and only by his own negative example.
This little bout of industry indignation also raises another interesting issue: the Romenesko echo chamber effect. Since the first link to his original post yesterday, Daly’s musing have been the subject of four more posts on Jim Romenesko’s “daily fix of media industry news,” including this one detailing initial reactions (including my own), an unintentionally ironic post from Washington Post executive editor Len Downie chastising Romenesko for linking to Daly’s piece in the first piece, a link to a letter from Time’s David Von Drehle, and this morning’s post detailing Daly’s semi-apologia. Numerous other people weighed in on Romenesko’s letters page, including the Times’ Adam Nagourney, the Boston Globe’s Erica Noonan, and Eric Alterman’s Eric Alterman. In an era of continual griping about newsroom cutbacks, why are so many highly-respected (and relatively high paid) journalists spending their precious time engaging a man who, according to his own resume, last did time as a working journalist in 1997? (I, for one, have a good excuse: I don’t have a job.)
I’ll venture one answer: journalists are self-obsessed, and, in a time when our public opinion ranking is somewhere below that of politicians, garbage collectors, and lawyers, Romenesko–a site that’s been labeled the industry’s water cooler so many times it’s practically part of the site’s name–is one area where we can remind each other we still matter. The lack of a volume control on Romenesko’s site, where a long Times feature about the future of the Wall Street Journal under Rupert Murdoch gets less attention that Chris Daly, makes it easy for us all to indulge in these self-important feeding frenzies. As a result, we give the Chris Daly’s of the world some weight, but that’s really secondary to our main, albeit unconscious, objective: reminding ourselves how much we matter.
Which isn’t to say that the first thing I’ll do when I post this is send a humble email to Romenesko himself. Because if there’s no link–and no reaction from my peers–how will I know that my voice on this burning issue is being heard?