Yet another sign on the road pointing to the disintegration of the society and values for which our founding fathers (and mothers) risked execution, life, and property, Ken Jarecke posted today on news’ aggregator Michael Wolf comments in a New York Observer article.
Mr. Wolf makes many contentious points, specifically calling all photographers “dicks” (or maybe just the male photographers, for this is one four-letter word I have never been called before) for committing the grievous crime of liscensing content. Ummm, we call that a revenue stream. Otherwise we wouldn’t be photographers (aka dicks) we would be hobbyists. Now, I’m not disparaging hobbyist photographers, who can be just as skilled as anyone of us paid hacks, I am just saying if you are not making your living as a photographer than according to the IRS, it is a hobby, not a profession, you’re still a photographer in my book, just I guess, not a “dick.” Which is probably a relief to you in more ways than one.
“We take The New York Times‘ 1,200-word story and we reduce it to 100 words, and be damned if you don’t miss anything,” Mr. Wolf asserts. Can I raise my hand here? I, for one, enjoy the lengthy discourse. I know I am in the minority here. But just watch Idiocracy, and you’ll see the danger of a limited discourse (with a high-five to Anne Pallesen for the rec). Yes, it’s a movie, but I once considered it’s premise as far-fetched as Mr. Wolf’s and neithers outlook appears so far-fetched today. Reducing Watergate/Walter Reed Army Hospital scandal/Abu Graib/the TARP plan to 100 words so it can fit on Twitter just isn’t going to do it for me. As Barney Frank paraphrased W.C. Fields, “The public is no bargain either.” And sure, that’s true. I’m sure most of America didn’t even realize the President left the country last week, and a friend in broadcast laments that the public only wants to be spoon fed what they want to hear, and not listen to any other side. Limiting the public’s information to what they want to hear is not necessarily in their best interest. Are you going to say “Yes” to your child at her every request?
“You know, actually, anybody whose got a news fee, I’ll give it to them [the public] for free, ” Wolf says about those news entities, like AP, who are working to stop their content from being aggregated. I’m just a little skeptical about the giving it away for free model, investigative pieces are expensive, foreign reporting is expensive. News costs. I think it was stupid for newspapers to become publicly owned entities, but I have nothing against them trying to make money for chrissake. Perhaps in Mr. Wolf’s model, we will all go back to some pre-medieval barter service, where we trade goods and services for in kind. (Except for photographers, of course, b/c according to Mr. Wolf all we do is just “click”) Because under his news-topia, there is no income stream, there is just sound-bite aggregation gratis for your pleasure and at your leisure. Sounds to me like the Sound and the Fury all over again, a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing – the content I mean, not his prophesies for the future of journalism. Is that under 100 words? Because if not, this definitely is: You-Get-What-You-Pay-For. Twitter that.