And it’s not always breaking of news. Indeed that may be their least important function. Cato at Liberty with a critical analysis of the loudly trumpeted Stern Report, and in particular the forced manner of its launch. On the day recalls being asked by the press for worthy comment on what had been a heavily embargoed report, but he notes: “it’s hard to say anything intelligent about a 700+ page report that was released only hours earlier”.
…the experience demonstrates a fundamental problem with journalism that is unlikely to ever go away. To wit, reporters demand an immediate reaction when some new study or paper comes out, and the news cycle doesn’t last long enough to allow for particularly informed and/or careful review of many of these said studies or papers. By the time that informed and careful response is ready, reporters have moved on to something else. The deck is stacked in favor of the authors, who seldom have to defend against anything but superficial or relatively poorly-informed criticism in the popular press.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty