My friend Jack says always that journalism is being killed not by the Internet or by Social Media, but by its own incompetence and laziness.
This story demonstrates not only that Jack is right, but also that Social Media can actually come to the rescue and help make the invaluable service of investigative press available to the general public.
- The Government Accountability Office, reported on May 7th that the Global Positioning System of satellites is in danger of becoming unusable because satellites are not being replaced quickly enough by the U.S. Air Force.
- This story got covered by hundreds of media across the world. Apparently nobody took the trouble of checking the facts.
- A few days later, Robert Cringely – a well-known blogger – writes this post whose opening lines I shamelessly stole above, clarifying the issue and explaining that things were not quite as told by the GAO.
Why did this happen? Well, there’s a number of possible reasons:
- Journalists are just too lazy/too stupid/too incompetent to check the facts
- Editorial bodies are spread too thin to be able to afford this level of backoffice work on every story that goes to print
- The Illuminati control the media and want us to believe that Skynet is upon us
I venture my own €0.02: I think journalists are not curious anymore. I always had the impression that a good journalist is first and foremost a curious person, someone who wants to know more, someone getting a kick out of understanding the inner story, the inner mechanism, the inner structure of something.
Journalists are the embodiment of one of the essential traits of sentients – and since sentients are not disappearing, maybe that fundamental trait is being now embodied by another category of persons, people who, like Robert Xavier, did not quite buy the story at face value or drink the press releaase kool-aid.
This is what is making journalists irrelevant, killing journalism as we know it, but making it reincarnate into a different body.
Not reallly a new story, is it ?