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« Remembering Some Christmas Traditions | Main | Will December 21, 2012 Really be the End of the World as We Know It? »

12/27/2011

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Good interview with GV.

I am saddened by the thought of no more George Vecsey columns and by his downer of a statemnt: "Patience and talent and good clips may not matter much; actually do not matter than much now, if I read papers around the US."

Pieces like this, while nostalgic and intriguing from a historical perspective, also underscore how the New York Times and its staffers are so very full of themselves.

I plan to share a link to this and the full final quote with some of my students and with my colleagues in the National Conference of Editorial Writers (soon to become Association of Opinion Journalists) http://ncew.org. The Poynter MediaWire (ne Romanesko) led me to it.

JCF4612: Can you elaborate? I didn't get that sense from the interview. The man has had a distinguished career at a major publication. I thought his remarks reflected that, but not in a negative or particularly arrogant way.

For openers: " ...It is a terrible feeling to have a friend in the office say, 'we'll catch you on the next edition." although these days, with the 24-hour web, we are all in the wire service business. ..."

Vescey said: "Without editors planning assignments and copy editors fixing mistakes, reporters quickly deteriorate into Underwear Guys writing blogs from their den."

And before you know it, their paper starts sending out discount subscription offers to eight million people that they have to rescind!

That's what makes Vescey's comments even more arrogant. Even the New York Times' illustrious staff couldn't figure out how to send an email out correctly, yet he's so condescending about bloggers writing from their dens? Spare me.

P.S. Is Vescey aware that women write these days, too? What's up with referring to all reporters as "guys"?

I think Mr. Vecsey says a lot of good things here, but I'm not too taken with his pessimism. It's the easy way out. As a journalism professor, I can say that the future is not all that bleak. I work with students every day who care about accuracy, about becoming better reporters, and about becoming better writers. (Sentence structure and punctuation? Well, their desire to perfect that needs work.) Young people care, they care a great deal (Occupy Wall Street, anyone?), and I think we do a disservice to say that things are getting worse. It's always tough to be optimistic, which is all the more reason that we should find reasons to be. I have my students, and I'm very grateful for them. I'd like to see Mr. Vecsey teach. He has a lot to offer, and he would do well to bequeath them to the next generation(s).

Gee, I'd hate for any young journalist to read this. As good as he may have been, there's no room for curmudgeons in this industry anymore. If you aren't willing to change then it's time to retire. Enjoy retirement, Mr. V.

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