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Online “Sources” January 4, 2004

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.

I’m never shy about taking shots at the NYTimes (you always hurt the ones you love), so how about this “trend” Times arts writers seem to be embracing? I’m talking about using postings , and both email and IM messages , as bases for reporting.

Back in the dark ages when I was a reporter, I wasn’t allowed to use e-mail messages as a source, on the assumption that digital identity was sketchy. Sketchier than phone interviews? One wonders. I’ll give the Times the benefit of the doubt and assume they confirmed that the posters and IMers were who they said they were. (Although I’m very suspicious about 15 year-old Kelly – notice (s)he isn’t identified by gender.)

And to me, using message boards is lazy, although I guess it’s no less representatitve than man in the street interviews.

Note that the “reporter” who used IMs and postings in the same story, isn’t a Times staffer, or even a real reporter – “rock journalism” doesn’t count, snark, snark. However, the good man has a degree in Latin, which I sort of do, too.

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