In Uncategorized on May 23, 2013 at 2:48 pm
The truth about The Truth About Cars kerfuffle is that I’m not sure I know what it’s about. Let me explain as best I can.
It appears that thetruthaboutcars.com Editor Steven Lang quit in protest of a snotty little piece of non-journalism under the byline of his boss, Bertel Schmitt. Schmitt was reporting (actually, that’s way too charitable a word. He was really just adding snark and regurgitating what was already reported) on crash tests that showed those small SUVs so many of us own aren’t as safe on the roads as we may like to believe. The only “value” Schmitt added was disparaging women and stereotyping the vehicles’ drivers. In the process, Schmitt managed to use the words “dyke,” “post-menopausal lesbians” and some others I won’t reprint.
Keep in mind, this is a story about car crash tests. … How he got to lesbians, I’ll never know.
Anyway, Lang indicated on Facebook that he quit as a result.
So, to recap, the editor-in-chief managed several paragraphs that did not advance his story whatsoever, undoubtedly offended many people and lost his right-hand man. All in a day’s work.
I mention all of this only to suggest that mindless riffing on the news of the day that includes your own biases is really never a good idea. Before you call someone a “dyke,” or anything of the sort, think it all the way through.
In journalism on May 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm
The screenshot above is a tweet from David Skok, director of digital global news at Shaw Media in Canada. He distilled an earlier blog post from Steve Buttry, whom I’ve quoted before. Buttry calls himself the digital transformation editor for Digital First Media. Consider him a sort of digital evangelist within the news game. He has been around the block and yet isn’t afraid of the new technologies that can help us do our jobs more effectively.
Buttry has penned an entire series of blog posts he calls Advice for Editors. All of them can be found at the end of the above link and all of them merit your attention.
The post that Skok references is all about the power of disruption. We here in Silicon Valley take the disruptive model as an article of faith. Everything is changing all the time and if an enterprise resists, it’s sunk. Buttry puts it like this:
“We’ve always done it that way” isn’t an acceptable explanation for doing anything in your newsroom.
I think Skok’s idea is a good one. Consider your job the care and steering of a river of information rather than a lurch from deadline to deadline. That may change the way you look at daily or weekly meetings. You don’t have to throw out the baby with all that bathwater rolling down the river of knowledge. Keep the weekly meetings, but acknowledge that hourly huddles are necessary in order to keep your Web product fresh.
Thumb through Buttry’s posts. It’s good stuff.