Friday, June 11, 2010

A Note on Press Credentials, Blogging, and J-School Ethics

As the world probably knows by now, your Chronicle and a few other Thrashers blogs are featured in today's edition of Bill "Rawhide" Tiller's AJC blog. The article concerns the possibility of NHL teams like the Thrashers issuing press credentials to blog-makers like yours truly. Do read.

Everyone interviewed for Rawhide's article---Laura of Thrashing the Blues, the legendary Falconer, and our dear friend Smoothie/Mr. Speaker---has more or less the correct response: Of course bloggers should have press passes if they're worthy of it, but team organizations need to be selective about who they choose to admit to the press box.

My own criteria for granting press passes is "a record of decent writing and reporting," which sounds somewhat vague and subjective because it is, but the Thrashers PR folks have minds and reading abilities; surely they can use them. I'd hesitate to use more mechanical criteria...though don't get us wrong, we are very proud of the many times we've been mentioned in Puck Daddy and the Hockey News and the AJC (in the writings of both Mr. Tiller and Mark Bradley).

Also: I have a problem with the current (and pretty much exclusively American) fetishization of "Journalism school" and degrees in something called Journalism. The greatest journalists in history never went to J-school, and the best ones working today (both in the US and abroad) have never taken journalism classes. William Cobbett, Tom Paine, William Hazlitt, Walter Bagehot, Alexander Herzen, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, James Gibbon Huneker, Rebecca West, Alan Moorehead, Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell, Joseph Roth, Joseph Mitchell, A.J. Liebling, I.F. Stone, Murray Kempton, Mike Royko, Jimmy Breslin, Hunter S. Thompson, Ryzard Kapuzcinski, Bruce Chatwin, Robert Fisk, James Fenton, David Remnick, Seymour Hersh, Christopher Hitchens (he was once a journalist, and a great one), Neal Ascherson, Lawrence Weschler, Timothy Garton Ash...none of them ever went to ever went to Journalism school, much less had any concern for mind-numbing J-school "ethics." But they all wrote vivid, incisive prose without which we'd be much poorer, much dumber, and very lost.

The whole idea of "journalism classes" is a bit weird to begin with, and contrary to the spirit of inquiry, risk, and hard experience so necessary to journalism. Not that anyone ever notices that journalism requires such a spirit, now that most journalists are dull yuppies often too lazy to chase politicians and general managers through a guarded parking lot or to make the necessary phone calls, on or off the goddamned record.

So, yeah...what does this mean for Thrash-blogging? More Ten Gallon Dick, probably.

Anyway, back to the World Cup.


j_barty_party said...

"Vivid, incisive prose" that's what I'ma talkin' about!

Now can vivid, incisive prose get you some ad revenue to make this a living? Probably so.

Notice I didn't say "good living", but who needs that when the world is going to hell down a broken oil well eh?

Morty, we need to talk my friend. I'll call you later. Actually, what are you doing at 5:30 today?

Mortimer Peacock said...

It's funny you mention ad revenue and 5:30 in the same comment, because I was scheduled to have a real-life business meeting with someone about ad revenue (concerning something else, not the Chronicle, alas) at 5:30, but now that's been postponed because the ad folk have a client "on CNN" around that time and want to watch it. Bastards.

So yes, I'm more or less free at 5:30.

The Chronicle actually DID have ads at one point, but then the middle-man supplying the ads vanished mysteriously. Probably killed in a shady Monte Carlo car crash. Perhaps I should try again...though with even a magazine like Newsweek collapsing and being sold off because it's losing money, I think it might be time to accept that you're never going to get rich (or even make a "modest living" or whatever) off of blogging.

ANYWAY. Yes, 5:30. Under the broken streetlamp.

j_barty_party said...

Had no idea you used to have some ad revenue. That's awesome. I'm always behind the damn curve of greatness? Except for the Thrashers of course!! I mean, who the hell wouldn't want to endorse a Ten Gallon Dick!!? Praise be to Rich Peverley. Can you imagine if we could actually get a quote from Dicky Pevs about his cult following? Boffo indeed!

I just texted you fool. Hit me back baby!

Jim Glare said...

Setting up romantic liasons with your fellow bloggers in full public view: the most important requirement for a Thrashers press pass.

Big Shooter said...

Wait... Speaker has a blog??? News to me...

Big Shooter said...

And Jim... any liason involving Morty and Speaker is sure to be romantic. They sure do love each other. It's nice to see...

j_barty_party said...

*giggles* followed by *BLUSH*

Awwww, Biggie Shoots! U so sweet.