Monday, August 22, 2005

Report, don't cheerlead

In his fascinating response to Richard Posner's article in the NYT Book Review, Bill Keller writes:
The saddest thing is that Judge Posner's market determinism leaves no room for the other dynamics I've witnessed in my 35 years in newspapers: the idealism of reporters who think they can make the world better, the intellectual satisfaction of puzzling through a complicated issue, the competitive gratification of being first to discover a buried story, the pride in striving to uphold a professional code of fair play, the quest for peer recognition and, yes, the feedback from attentive and thoughtful readers.

Look, I'm going to have to agree with the Limbaughs of the world on this: If you want to make the world a better place, become an NGO or volunteer at a soup kitchen or run for public office. Don't become a reporter. If you're a reporter-advocate, no matter how noble the cause, you muddy your own reporting. [Full disclosure. I frequently contribute to the NYT]

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:51 AM

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