Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 21, 2011

The New Journalism: Get out the barf bag

The New Journalism: Get out the barf bag

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Normally I don't read the newspapers at the library, especially if I don't have a bottle of Pepto Bismo handy. But since the bus driver thought the city bus might be on fire, and we all had to disembark, I found myself wandering through those menacing aisles at the downtown library.
Unfortunately, I picked up a copy of Indian Country Today and saw a revolting Playboy style spread in what was once a great newspaper that I worked for. ICT has hired a former Playboy editor as its editor and the newspaper is now worse than I could have ever imagined.
Quickly tossing that aside, I picked up the glossy magazine Native Peoples. In the first few pages, my vision was assaulted by an entire full page advertisement for the CIA.
There really could be no better case made for the degeneration of journalism, and the demise of Indian country journalism, than these two items.
Besides these forms of the plummeting of the integrity in journalism, there is also the new journalism offering unexpected nausea.

The New Journalism: Plagiarism and the 10 minute phone call
The new journalism is actually the old plagiarism. It is disguised at times with a 10 minute phone call, and a courtesy photo, or a stolen photo, but it is still plagiarism. It is easy to spot. Just type the key words into Google News or Google Web, and you'll see the original stories that the highly-paid thieves are plagiarizing.
Anyone, including preteens these days, can shoot a decent news photo with a digital camera or cellphone. If there's no photo, it is very likely that the reporter wasn't there. And if you think the newspaper is doing you a favor by using your photo for a coverup, without paying you, rethink this. If they have advertising, they are making money and you should be getting paid.

The Parasite: The armchair journalist
This is the reporter who sits in an easy chair and plagiarizes. Most of their time is spent trying to deceive you. First they want readers to believe they were actually out on a news story. Next, if you're one of their victims, they want you to know how lucky you are that they are writing about you. They spend more time spending their paychecks, acquired by stealing the hard work of others, than undertaking journalism.

The 'Bore Me to Death' Reporter
There's another type of journalist who is not hard at work these days. This one comes under the category of "Bore me to death." This reporter writes about the same topic, year after year, because they never leave the comfort of their home or office.

The Drive By
Yes, there's still non-Indians who drive out to Indian country once a week to write about how bad it all is. And thanks to the good ole boy editors, those hit-and-run reporters still capture headlines.
As long as people are preoccupied with the never-ending political corruption, they will not focus on the melting of the Arctic from the local coal-fired power plants, the depletion of the pristine aquifers, the poisoning of the rivers, or the young people who are being recruited to die in the bogus wars of corporations and politicians.

Don't kiss and tell
Editors, if you want people to be test cases for experimental drug research, or consent to strip searches by anthropologists, don't admit it.

The Sell outs
Finally, for the corporate media, we know the advertisers pay your salary. We know your bosses are afraid of the US and local politicians, and are either in bed with them or are having lunch with them.
We know they want you to cheerlead for drones at the borders, conceal the truth of Wikileaks and to shun the actions of protesters.
We know your editors want us all to be distracted, placated and hypnotized by non-news and Walmart shopping, and paralyzed by fear.
Why not put a disclaimer at the end of your article: 'Bought and paid for by ...'

Brenda Norrell, news reporter in Indian country for 29 years, is publisher of Censored News.

No comments: