Over at Slacktivist, Fred Clark delivered a rant today about the sad state of journalism. As usual, it’s a thought-provoking piece. However, what makes the post even better is one of the comments, which begins:
Wow. You have basically described my job.
I’m online editor at a smallish newspaper in the Midwest. Once a week, I am given a page to fill dedicated to exactly this sort of swill. And I am given a couple hours to come up with the copy and photos to fill that page. I literally am required to skim through the press releases, submitted poems, online comments sections, e-mailed photos and family-written profiles to come up with enough to fill that gaping hole in the paper. I consider it a good week when I can find something that is at least written in the first person. It is a relentless schedule. Every Thursday, I wade into the cesspool looking for shiny things, while a relentless clock ticks away in the background.
And that is really the rub. I don’t have more time, nor would my bosses allocate more time, for me to factcheck every one of these pieces. Or any of these pieces, for that matter. And since I have that blank page staring back at me, I am genuinely relieved to be able to insert that terrible poem. Or that diary about your backpacking trip to Nepal. And if you send a photo? Ohmigod, you are my most favorite person in the world. Because that big, white page must be filled. And if you don’t send your crap in, what in the world will I fill it with?
The rest of the comment is just as depressingly insightful.