Henican: The perils of bathrobe reporting
They have this maddening habit of refusing to present themselves.
Often and I know this from many years of wrestling facts as newspaper reporter and columnist you have to go outside and grab the jumpy suckers one by one. Then, you have to shine a light in their eyes and slap em upside the head, stunning them long enough for the rest of the world to get a good, clear view and start to figure out exactly what these particular facts might mean.
Im not complaining here. Fact-hunting, often called reporting, is a noble and rewarding occupation, although not so much monetarily any more. But it sure isnt quick or easy. I promise you that much. And it sure isnt cheap.
Whats cheap is some self-absorbed nitwit sitting in front of a computer in his bathrobe, stealing the facts that some hard-working, low-paid newspaper drone just spent hours collecting.Then, Bathrobe Boy tosses off a condescending comment or two about those stolen facts, throwing in a few dismissive pokes at the fact-chasing newspaper dinosaur who did all the grunt work of discovery.
You want to know about the current state of the news business? Thats where the news business is today.
The people who gather the facts the vast, vast majority of them still employed in the ink-on-paper world, even though their stories now also appear on the Internet are watching in horror as their beloved business collapses and all the preening Bathrobe Boys declare themselves The Future.
Hell, maybe they are.
But get back to me will you? when all these New Media outlets achieve the cash flow and the attention span and the social conscience to sit through a three-week trial at the courthouse, prowl the corridors of power with a notebook, read the agenda of every zoning meeting, climb the housing-project stairway before the body is cold, stand outside the precinct in the rain until the perp is walked all to gather some facts.
The Bathrobe Boys may do the hard work one day. They havent done it yet.
And thats just a fact.