Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Jill quotes Alex Golub on editing your representation. Golub's post is eminent and I recognize the signs, both in myself and my friends - although I didn't think of googling myself until I had been blogging for half a year. What I want to point out is that this is why newspapers have editors - to protect the paper, the writer and the subject of the article from "getting burned". It's a skill to present yourself in such a fashion that you can live with what people learn about yourself - as well as living with how you represent others. This training is perhaps the most important difference between a skilled journalist and the amateur writer of a journal. "Burning" their subjects is the most frequent complaint against journalists and news organisations. Normally this burning happens not through presenting untruths, but by neglecting one of the rules hanging in all news-rooms: protect your sources from themselves. Your source might be willing to talk to you and even be filmed by you, perhaps even eager to be shown with milk coming out their nose... but they don't know anything about how this will affect them later on. This is what journalists are supposed to be protecting them from. And yes, they do so more frequently than the public know.

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