Shame on Somebody: The Station Ruffles RWW's Feathers

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-10-04 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Station ruffled some journalistic feathers with our previous post. Sorry about that, but it happens in this bidness; it's part of the job.

The editor of ReadWriteWeb, Richard MacManus, told us off in a huff, crying "shame on you" for blasting a lame IT story on his site. It's a free-speaking/writing country, he's welcome to defend himself any way he likes.

But it's still a lame story, and it's still up there, last time we looked.

Anyway, we wrote a response to him, but there's something screwy with our CMS (content management system), and it's not showing up on the site. So I'll reprint it here as a blog post.

ReadWriteWeb is generally an okay, progressive Web site, by the way. Here's MacManus's comment first, followed by ours.

--------------------------------------------------- Richard MacManus:

I'll take Sarah's story any day over your pathetic attempt at a hit job. Shame on you. Why not spend your time doing some research and writing factual stories, instead of serving up this nonsense.

Richard MacManus Editor, ReadWriteWeb

----------------------------------

The Station:

Cool, we have the editor now.

Mr. MacManus, I've been an editor for half my career. That story would have prompted me to send an email or phone call to the writer, immediately. And then I would have killed it on the spot. You should have, too.

The premise of the story, "5 hot new trends," is flat-out wrong. There's absolutely nothing "new" here; you don't describe old news as "new trends." Any knowledgeable IT professional will see through that in two seconds, and there goes a measure of your hard-to-win credibility.

Should we aspire to high standards in IT journalism? You bet we should. There is already so much incorrect garbage masquerading as news online (latest case in point: the Steve Jobs heart attack story, which CNN published for a while without tracing the source, and that RWW also linked to) that our credibility as a legitimate media sector won't stand a chance if we publish outmoded and/or incorrect information dressed as news. This is the problem with the story at hand.

IT moves at Internet speed. Information gets old really fast. Old information becomes incorrect information faster than a Coke loses its fizz.

I generally like RWW's content; that's why I got so steamed about this story.

BTW, there are nothing but facts in my blog post. I'm a dealer in facts, and I work diligently to find relevant facts while weeding out the tons of chaff I encounter every day.

Here's my answer to your whine that I should "spend my time doing some research and writing factual stories." I already do. Go ahead, make my day, and Google me. I've been writing researched/factual IT news and analysis for 13 years and researched/factual news, sports and business for 20 years before that, for wonderful publishers -- including the Tribune Company, Los Angeles Daily News, C/net, NewsForge and Software Development magazine.

Try and "phone it in" for those publishers and see how long you last. The RWW story in question sure looks "phoned in" to me.

Finally, if you want to see my researched/factual stories on eWEEK alone, okay, here's the entire list -- all 780 of them.

I'm done. It's not personal, it's business journalism. I'll give RWW another chance. Thanks for writing.

/cp

 
 
 
 
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