“The job of a journalist is not to cheerlead, but to ask hard questions…”

In the Irish Times, Karlin Lillington makes a pertinent point on coverage of Apple’s recent launch of  “two phones, a payment system and a watch” –  “a non-existent product that, for now, remains vapourware”.  From the Irish Times

The idea of an audience of journalists and analysts giving a standing ovation at a product launch is, frankly, alarming.

The job of a journalist is not to cheerlead, but to ask hard questions. To be sceptical at product launches. To confirm Apple’s concerns from 2009 that the press might not even clap.

Maybe that final moment, when that press audience surged to its feet, said everything about what is going wrong with technology coverage in an era of barely rewritten press-release “churnalism”, advertiser-subsidised content, and writers that go reliably (G)oogly-eyed over the latest gadgets.

Ovations are for the fanbase. Not those whose job it is to take companies, and their claims and promises, to task.

To which I’d add… And doubly so in the political arena.

Just saying…

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  • JH

    Extrapolated, it kind of makes me wonder what the purpose of BBC News is. At the moment they’re being made to look completely toothless by C4.

    Whether business or politics, I thought the role of journalism was to hold power to account, to dig to get the real facts and expose the motives of people in positions of influence. Instead the entire BBC studio takes a break for the day to show the royal family and British political elite around the building, regular news is shunted to fawn over new additions to the family.

    It’s a blemish on an otherwise fantastic institution. HARDtalk and Newsnight pick up some of the slack but even they’ve been made to look amateur by people like Glenn Greenwald.

  • Michael Henry

    ” The job of a Journalist is not to cheerlead,but to ask hard Questions “-

    That’s a good one- I have read more than a few Journalists from the six telling Sinn Fein to bow and accept the welfare reforms-where is all the hard Questions to the Tory’s and Unionists about the hits they want to make to the people-

    Most Journalists cheerlead welfare cuts-no hard Questions on that subject-

  • steve white

    “The idea of an audience of journalists and analysts giving a standing ovation at a product launch is, frankly, alarming.” yes but did it happen doesn’t seem so