Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Morning Atlmalcontent

It saddens me a bit. Over the past three years, it became apparent to me that Atlmalcontent and I agree on a lot of things. We have a similar political outlook, a similar sense of humor and admiration for a certain writer from the mountains of Colorado.

But, we've found a place where we not only disagree, but disagree so violently that it is doubtful we will ever agree that we ever agreed on anything.

Whether it's passive-aggression or an intentional tactic, in his criticism of non-traditional media, Atlmalcontent behaves in the very manner he and others in the traditional media decry as the sins of the blogworld. He quote mines, he ignores any characteristics which do not support his caricature and he ascribes false positions to his opponents.

Yesterday, he asked for an example of a non-journalist breaking a major local story. I responded with what I thought might be an answer. What followed was a heated exchange which soon ventured far astray from the original question.

And here is how is how Atlmalcontent summarizes this morning.
Let’s first take a moment to applaud GriftDrift for that brief post he wrote over a year ago about layoffs at CL. Apparently that was a major local story – particularly among the gravedancing crowd.
Now, here is what I wrote in response to his original question.
Well, maybe it’s not “major” but how about this one?
I certainly recognized that my example may not match his criteria, but more about that in a minute.

I've had an opportunity to re-read that brief story several times in the last 24 hours and like most writers, I've agonized a bit over how I could have written it better.

I should have been more clear that "unconfirmed reports" was actually an anonymous source with whom I had enough experience to determine the credibility was at a level where I could publish without full confirmation. There's less than a half dozen people who fit that type by the way.

I wish I had mentioned that I spoke to Ken Edelstein and since he was publishing on his blog in mere minutes, even though I had the story nailed, I would wait until he posted and use that link as confirmation. (The link was confirmation - not the origin of the story, despite what Atlmalcontent curiously continues to argue)

I could have done a better job, no doubt. But despite Atlmalcontent's repeated assertion that I did not address his points, that story was based on a credible source, I had a primary source on the record (although admittedly I did not indicate that in the piece) and the other side was given an opportunity to respond (which they eventually did, once again on the record and it was reported in an update).

Atlmalcontent also states:
If you really think bloggers can do just as good a job as, for instance, the AJC, then there’s nothing to discuss. It’s a pretty arrogant — and insulting — conclusion to reach. Maybe you’ll get the opportunity to prove it one day.
I challenge anyone to find an example where I have said this. Despite Atlmalcontent's claim that blogger's have "no established track record", there is a two year record of my position on media scattered in writings on my blog, Blake's blog, Travis' blog and half a dozen other sites. I have certainly been critical of media and I have certainly advocated that a non-professional can cover a story, but I have also said many times (including in the link Atlmalcontent uses) that it would be very difficult for someone without the resources of major media to cover a beat and even more difficult to develop an extensive investigative piece.

Now back to that "five inches" of a story I wrote over a year ago. Was it major? I don't know. In the grand scheme of things, probably not. But it was the first story of layoffs at a venerable Atlanta publication - one that now faces the possibility of disappearing forever. I'll let you judge.

And there is one thing Atlmalcontent ignores completely.

The story was 100% correct.


Unknown said...

ATLmalcontents post today stinks of bitterness spewed by someone who has just been publicly and unarguably hammered. I said as much on his blog.

I, like you, see a place for both in the world of reputable journalism. I think he does not and that his position is wrong. It's his blog, he has his opinion and I will continue to go there for that opinion. I have, however, lost some (not all) of the respect that he has earned with me. I hope I can give it back some day.

Unknown said...

OK, I just re-read my post, I only said he was bitter... nothing about stinking or getting hammered publicly.... I felt the clarification was needed.

I really should preview more before I post.

chamblee54 said...

For the record, Hunter S. Thompson was from Louisville, KY. The attitudes of his hometown stayed with him throughout his life. He did, of course, find a home in Colorado.

Unknown said...

@ Grift - he should know better than to challenge me on fatcs :-)