Negotiating client No. 9 news discourse

7 11 2009

I am one of the 28,492 people who follow NYU Professor of Journalism Jay Rosen’s tweets. Jay is well-known for launching the People Formerly Knows As The Audience acronym and for mindcasting instead of lifecasting on Twitter. He also has a knack for curating content.

The Gawker story Jay recently linked to is a remarkable piece of investigative journalism (in itself a practice many ‘journalism-is-dead’ advocates never thought would be possible online). The story reconstructs the off-the-record email traffic that ensued when the Eliot Spitzer story broke. Mark Peterson calls it “unwriteable discourse”, Gawker calls it a “the inside of a PR meltdown”.  A recommended and surprisingly cordial tale of news management:

You’d think that, with blood in the water, the traditional coziness that develops between official flacks and the beat reporters who have to talk to them every day would break down into some kind of last-man-standing slugfest. But in the Spitzer case, the opposite happened. The revelations upended the worlds of both reporter and flack alike, and the uncertainty, long hours, and breakneck pace of the scandal actually seemed to throw them together as they worked toward what seems, if you read the e-mail exchanges, like a common goal of getting the news out and behind them.


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