Thursday, July 12, 2012

You don't need no stinkin' reporters to write stories

If number of stories counts (see previous post), then do we care whether they're written by a human, a community reporter, or someone in India writing to a formula. Yet more options are available to editors. For example, computers can string raw data into story form. Or a reporter far away from the actual story.

The problem with shortcuts is that they seldom produce good journalism. While I don't have a study to back it up, I strongly suspect that most people can tell the difference between the passionless words-strung-together by a machine or written-to-a-formula story and actual journalism. Yes, newspapers have cut their staffs way too far and they are offering way, way too little space for actual stories. But most consumers can tell the difference.

Yes, you don't need real reporters to write stories. But you need them to write good stories.

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