Monday, August 01, 2016

Son of Sam and #Journalism

Depending on who you talk to, I'm a journalist.

Anyway, that's what Paul Silverfarb and Susan Shultz and a few others tell me.

Regardless, it's not a secret that I'm passionate about media - not just radio. I love TV and newspapers and journalism, and how we cover big events. I've said - openly - that how we handle breaking news is shameful in today's world. The use of a breaking news slate (that static image you see on your TV screen that said "NBC News SPECIAL REPORT") and the dramatic music was jarring to your senses. It spoke to something BIG.

Now we use it if a Kardashian has liposuction.

Anyway, I read a story by Cady Drell in Rolling Stone this morning. The story: "How Son of Sam Changed America" - highlighted the crazy tabloid journalism that exploded in the summer of 1977. But it further suggested that, perhaps, it was the beginning of the movement to evolve towards something none of us knew in 1977: clickbait.

I remember that summer quite clearly. I remember the fear that the story struck around New York City. I read the papers - my father brought the New York Daily News and the Peekskill Evening Star home every night. I was a radio and TV nut. Even then, I was the budding media historian.

Plus the Yankees won a title that October. So there was that.

We were just a few years beyond the incredible work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Yet here we were, giving a whole new meaning to "ink-stained wretch." Because of my naive world view of an eight-year-old in 1977, I wasn't quite aware just how low the media went that summer.

This story highlights it.

Incidentally, #journalism (yes, that hashtag is there for a reason) still really matters, and there are great journalists doing remarkable work, on a local, national, and international basis. I've mentioned a few who deserve respect  (hello, Susan). Scott Pelley on CBS gives me reason to believe that the story is still the thing.

I digress.

The Rolling Stone piece is a worthy read. Worth a click for sure.

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