The Washington Post – the once-legendary newspaper in the nation’s capital – continues to stumble and crumble along, the victim of an increasing number of self-inflicted ethical mistakes. A few months ago, it was about the egregious attempt by publisher Katharine Weymouth to sell her paper’s editorial influence to Washington lobbyists.
While visiting friends in Munich recently, I was struck by a couple of modern-day contrasts with American cities – I saw very few people in Munich walking down the streets with eyes glued to their Blackberrys or iPhones.
Instead, people sitting at coffee shops, reading all kinds of publications – actual newspapers and magazines.
Here’s why it’s important for anyone in the field of communications and PR – you will get a clear sense of how a journalist works to get a story, what he or she is looking for, what makes it on the air and what does not. You understanding the thinking about what makes news.
The Washington Post is flailing. The signs are there that the newspaper is struggling, directionless, out of control. The Post is becoming a less credible and responsible newspaper. I have written here that if the Post were located in any other city but the nation’s capital, it would be out of business.
While on annual vacation with my wife … we always visit the same remote valley in extreme southeast Switzerland near Italy … I have been thinking about Frank Rich’s essay in The New York Times this past Sunday on the passing of Walter Cronkite and lamenting the demise of journalistic standards as we have know when for years. I believe Frank, who I greatly respect, missed the main point about the crumbling news business.
Since I wrote about the murder of Neda Agha Soltan in Tehran on June 20, I wanted to follow up with this moving and powerful story from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty … an interview with Neda’s mother:
July 30 marks 40 days since the death of 27-year-old Neda Agha Soltan, who has become a symbol of Iran’s brutally suppressed “Green movement” protesting the results of last month’s presidential election.
I held off at first writing something about this story when it first broke last week, primarily to see how it would unfold. There was something about the story that seemed to ring so true about the Post today even though what the paper did was so bone-headed.
When coaching people to be interviewed, especially live on television, I always counsel them to listen closely to questions they are asked and to answer those questions. I also advise not to make up stuff if you don’t know. Unfortunately, for many people, that’s not always how they behave before the cameras.