Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Being First, or Right?

High Post

“The common complaint is that the [Washington] Post is lowering its standards—‘cheapening its brand’ is the vogue-ish term. But [editor Marcus] Brauchli says a photo gallery on ‘a B-list celebrity’ doesn't compromise the serious and substantial work the Post does, [and] galleries and the like help keep traffic and advertising flowing so that the paper can concentrate its real journalistic firepower on important things.

“Of greater concern, perhaps, is how the Post plays the traffic game with breaking news. The paper’s working assumption is that it cannot be left behind on any story of importance. Readers do want the latest, and they’ll find it somewhere else if the Post doesn’t give it to them.

“But this is where things can get really sticky. ‘Getting something up’ on a breaking story can be risky. It usually means reporting fragments of the story. Worse, it increases the chances that a story will be inaccurate. Brauchli is adamant about this point: ‘We have no tolerance for getting things wrong.... Our market positioning, as it were, is being right. [We’re] the place you can count on for factual reporting.’”

—Paul Farhi
, columnist (and Washington Post contributing writer),
Traffic Problems,” American Journalism Review, September 2010

• Editorial Comment: When you’re right, you’re right.

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  1. Not to mention that what’s really keeping the WaPost afloat is their Kaplan for-profit education racket, and I use that term advisedly, or anyway informedly. I guess everybody’s gotta have a dodgy money source to keep going now...the NYT has Carlos Slim, the WaPo Kaplan. It’s both bad and sad.

  2. Loved this from the same article:

    "Every few days at The Washington Post, staffers get a notice like this: 'Please welcome Dylan Feldman-Suarez, who will be joining the fact-integration team as a multiplatform idea triage specialist, reporting to the deputy director of word-flow management and video branding strategy. Dylan comes to us from the social media utilization division of Sikorsky Helicopters.'"

    -- Gene Weingarten's parody of the Post's direction