Why Oh Why Oh Why?

February 6, 2008

Why is Alistair Campbell shocked when a journalist tells him he wrote a story about him which was completely untrue? Hasn’t journalism always been a strange mix of fearless seekers after truth and people happy to make things up for a living?

Why do commentators like Madeline Bunting still write “why oh why” pieces about people being rude online?  Haven’t people always been rude to each other both behind their backs and to their faces?

Why, if Comment is Free is worried about people being nasty  about scousers, don’t they just moderate their comments harder? Why don’t they realise that they are responsible for the comments they publish?

Why don’t people think about Jeff Jarvis’s view that social networking will make people more civil and polite not less?

Why if, according to Nick Davies, rewriting press releases is such a terrible thing, do journalists keep on doing it? Why don’t they just link to the press release instead?

Why don’t journalists understand that when they rewrite a press release to make it suitable for their particular readership they are doing exactly the same thing as the PR and marketing people they despise?

Why do journalists and bloggers despise PR and marketing people? Especially when some of them (e.g. Steve Rubell )have a darn sight better idea of what’s going on than your average journalist?

Why can’t people like Madeline Bunting read this excellent column from Jemima Kiss and realise that “participation” is the key (“our front of house task is to get stuck in… tokenism won’t do”)? Internet conversation won’t get any better unless people participate.

Why don’t more people understand (like Hilary Perkins does) that this is all just communication? Marketing and PR people, bloggers and journalists are all using the same tools. It’s not what you’re called that counts, or even whether you are paid for it, but how you use the tools, how you behave and whether people trust you to tell the truth.

N.B. Answer to question 2. Because it’s easier to write a “why oh why” column and get paid for it than to actually do some work to understand how all this stuff actually works.

Just as it’s easier to rewrite a press release than to do some work and find some new facts.

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2 Responses to “Why Oh Why Oh Why?”


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