Thursday, November 08, 2007

David Shaw and Media Criticism

From an interview on on-line journalism from May 1998. David Shaw was a media critic.

Dent: What do you see as the biggest problems today for online journalism?

Shaw: Any time we have the technological capability to do something, we do it. So that once television had the capability to go live immediately, they would go live immediately. Now that we have the capability to go live immediately with a news story, too often we now do that without bothering to check it out -- as we saw at times during the Monica Lewinsky case. I think that the temptation to go forward quickly, because you can go forward quickly, sometimes proves irresistible. And I think that's a major concern ... I think it damages our credibility and blurs still further the line between media and those not involved.

Dent: Are there any areas in which online journalists have done a better job than print or broadcast journalists?

Shaw: I think that some of the entertainment areas, such as Sidewalk and [other entertainment] sites, do a good job on where to go, and where the good restaurants are. I just went the other day to and it was fabulous. The only time, generally speaking, that my attention has been brought to online journalism, it has been wrong. No one has said to me, 'Wow have you seen this fabulous series that was online?' I'm sure if I was online regularly, I would see some really good examples of graphics and personalization and all those things that the Web does so well ...

Dent: With your focus on media, do you see anti-Internet bias in the mainstream media and in print news coverage in particular?

Shaw: I'm sure it's there, but most people I talk to are more uneasy and questioning and uncertain than they are biased. They certainly are concerned about things that have been happening like the Matt Drudges of the world. But none of the smart people I have talked to deny the power of the Web or are insensitive to its strengths.

Dent: Do you see a lack of media understanding of the Web reflected in their coverage?

Shaw: I think there's a tendency, probably, to paint everything with a broad brush, whether it's tabloid TV shows or supermarket tabloids or the Net. There's a certain self-righteous, holier-than-thou, we-know-how-to-do-it-right attitude coming from some media. And they sometimes certainly fail to make distinctions between those elements in Cyberspace - between those Internet journalists who do good, careful jobs, and those who are the Matt Drudges of the world.

For another of his efforts, read this.

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