Slow news: A movement we should all get behind

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We have collectively blundered into a P.T. Barnum media age when being first trumps being accurate. The economic rewards of the Internet flow to those who win the search-engine wars by being fast and furious rather than to those laggards who wait to be accurate and comprehensive. It is as if the motto of today’s journalism has become: “He who dies with the most clicks wins.”

Columnist Walter Shapiro

I have two deadlines so I shouldn’t write this.  And you do, too, so you shouldn’t be reading it. But life flies. Can’t miss stuff. Right?

Click. Lost you. Click. Back, huh?

Forget the humor. As Shirley Sherrod learned first-hand, today’s politics/media vortex sucks us in one minute  and spit us into a different strange landscape minutes or hours later. Everyone is dizzy. But is anyone smarter?

Now Walter Shapiro (in a column passed on by friend and former True/Slanter Jeff Seglin) is offering a solution: Slow news.  News that means something. News that concentrates on what’s important and verifiable rather than throwing stuff on a virtual wall to see what sticks — and gets clicks.

That’s it. Really  do have two deadlines. But enjoy Walter’s piece (linked here and above).

And Walter, do send me the slow news petition to sign.


About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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3 Responses to Slow news: A movement we should all get behind

  1. A noble idea and one to which I could subscribe, but I fear it has no practical application today. Things have moved too far in the opposite direction, so much so that traditional journalism as it had been practiced for hundreds of years may be relegated to the dustbin of history. Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but that’s the way it looks to me.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Hi David,
      Thanks for stopping by. I hate to admit that I share your pessimism, but to considerable extent I do. A colleague sent me this eloquent note today. I think he’s premature in predicting the end of newspapers, but they certainly don’t dictate the agenda anymore. Regardless, his words bear repeating:

      “The lowest denominator seems to pull everyone else down to its level for keeps. The tone of coverage is persistently shrill and hyper — and the saving grace of newspapers is dead on the vine absent a miraculous comeback.
      It’s a Press befitting a society increasingly disconnected from reality with a cartoon mentality.”

  2. Pingback: Slow news: A movement we should all get behind – Jerry Lanson …

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