July 28, 2003

JOURNALISM TODAY: Two letters from Romenesko that are worth reading:

From ANDREW MILNER: So we hand out bylines to proven plagiarists and fabulists, tell anyone who criticizes this that they’re “completely lacking a sense of humor” and then scratch our heads wondering why 90 percent of the public hold our profession in utter contempt. Maybe respect from the masses begins with a little professional self-respect.

From JOHN CALLAHAN: Letter after letter talking about the Esquire/Glass/Blair deal, and only a single letter — one lousy letter — about Reuters’ hatchet job on Deanna Wrenn’s Jessica Lynch story? Let me get this straight: Reuters takes a local piece about a young woman and soldier returning home, turns it into a not-so-subtle anti-administration screed that one first amendment expert called “politically incendiary” (and the expert, UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, was being charitable — you really have to read this piece to believe it), and Karen Heyman is the only one with anything to say?

It’s no surprise that journalism’s reputation has suffered in recent years. It’s moderately surprising that journalists — so quick to point out misbehavior by other institutions — are so slow to catch on to the damage to their own profession. Here’s a link to Volokh’s comments on the Reuters scandal — which isn’t nearly as big a scandal as it ought to be.