My Ears Are Ringing

Two people recently were kind enough to mention (positively) some stuff I wrote back in the day. “In _CJR_,”: Eric Umansky referred to “this piece”: I did for the _Bulletin_ about Iran. And Hugh Gusterson “mentioned”: in _NPR_ a couple of _ACT_ pieces I wrote about North Korea.

There are also some very kind words in the comments of “this _ACW_ post.”:

I’m an amateur media critic at best, but I thought I’d offer a few quick observations about media coverage.

* Reporters should, as often as possible, mention publications, organizations, etc. that they get information from. Press mentions help keep nonprofits around to provide said information.

* Obviously, there are bad reporters out there. But people have to remember that newspapers are organizations. Therefore, lots of other people have input in deciding which stories run, how they’re placed, how long they are, etc. So when stuff gets covered badly, or not at all, it’s not necessarily the reporters’ fault.

* Proper resources matter. One of the luxuries that I had at _ACT_ was the chance to focus on a few issues and work on monthly deadlines. Obviously, I can’t speak to the specific situations of papers like the _Post_ or the _NYT_, but newspaper reporters generally have larger portfolios than I ever did and also work on daily deadlines. It seems reasonable to think that having more reporters, researchers, fact-checkers, etc. would improve coverage.

As _The Wire’s_ David Simon said in “this _New Yorker_ profile”:

bq. The newsroom I worked in had four hundred and fifty people. Now it’s got three hundred. Management says, ‘We have to do more with less.’ *That’s the bullshit of bean counters who care only about the bottom line. You do less with less.”*

* As bad as press reporting can be, TV is generally about a billion times worse. And that’s where more people get their information from.

* Reporters should stop quoting hacks who don’t know what they’re talking about and constantly get things wrong.

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