Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Who's enforcing journalistic standards?

Marc Herman has some interesting stories about the relationship between publishers and journalists, helping to explain why he released his work on Libya as an Amazon Single. I found this passage particularly compelling:
In traditional publishing, particularly books, the impulse to enforce professional standards comes more and more from the reporter and less and less from the editor. This suits me, but it’s the reverse of how things usually go. Traditionally, the reporter pushes to include material. The editor evaluates the material’s appropriateness. The final balance of source and information happens in the editor’s office, not the reporter’s notepad. 
A dramatization of the system a lot of people know comes from the old movie version of the reporter’s classic All the President’s Men. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, as the reporters, want to run a damning story about the President. Jason Robards, as the editor, keeps telling them they haven’t got the story yet
Great in a 30 year-old movie. In my 20 years, I’ve never had an editor say that. I’ve said it to editors lots — that I don’t have it yet.

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