J-School Jump Street

June 4, 2014

snowden-flees-hong-kongOvercast and a touch of ground fog this early Wednesday on California’s north coast, and a warm breeze, too.
The air’s not really ‘warm,’ but feels like it, though.

In the atmosphere this morning, though, is a spirit or remembrance. Not only of things past, but what the past does for tomorrow, and what kind of shit has been left behind.

(Illustration found here).

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square encounter and China has helped the celebrations by blocking all Google services, other Internet venues, and arresting anyone who looks any bit like a celebrant. There are/will be tons of news stories on the affair.
And next week, here in the US will be the 42th anniversary of the infamous Watergate break-in, the burglary of the century — or maybe two centuries.
Veteran Washington Post police reporter, Alfred E. Lewis, wrote the initial Watergate burglary story — the lede, June 18, 1972:

Five men, one of whom said he is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, were arrested at 2:30 a.m. yesterday in what authorities described as an elaborate plot to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee here.

Of course, intrepid nobodies, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, jumped into the fray, and the rest is history. Yet in the nowadays, would this story be as big as the original? In June 1972, I was about six weeks away from being discharged from the Air Force, and didn’t have a clue/inkling about anything to do with Watergate. And I was about three months away from J-school at the University of Florida.
The Watergate story started slowly, and worked its way into a lather. In the now, the story would have spread like a virus.
David Dayen via Business Insider:

But 40 years ago, if you lived in Maine or Wyoming and wanted to follow Woodward and Bernstein’s day-to-day revelations, you’d probably have to get them filtered through broadcast news reports by Walter Cronkite.
You probably wouldn’t have access to a copy of the Washington Post; maybe your local paper would reprint the articles later, or you’d read rival reporters’ work.
To get Woodward and Bernstein themselves, you might have to wait for the publication of All the President’s Men, which revealed the behind-the-scenes of stories you may never have actually read.
If it were breaking today, every Woodward and Bernstein scoop on Watergate would be instantly available to you, no matter where you lived, by logging onto the Post website.
You could share the article with your friends on Facebook, or discuss it on Twitter.
You could read any number of blogs deconstructing the stories, written by everyone from amateur hobbyists to experts on the legal issues.
If you chose (and maybe if you didn’t have a job), you could read every single word written by or about Woodward and Bernstein, all with the click of a mouse.
So does this mean we’re in a golden age of journalism?
It would be nice to think so.
It’s true that Americans with Internet access can find more journalism than ever before, from every perspective and all over the world.
I can look out over the Pacific Ocean and swipe my phone to read about farming techniques in Mongolia.
However, as many have pointed out, the new economy of journalism favors speed over drawn-out investigative scoops.
Editors want to find as many eyeballs as possible for their stories and elbow out competitors in a 24-hour news cycle.
That leads to more stories about random tweets or gotcha comments than investigations taking weeks to report.
While the local reporters left do a great job (think about the Chris Christie bridge scandal), there aren’t enough of them; employment at daily newspapers dropped by one-third from 2000 to 2012.
There’s more news these days about the news than news itself.

Yes, indeed.

And closer to the minute, tomorrow is the first birthday of the first revelation-bomb disclosed about the NSA by Eddie Snowden — the biggest story of this new century, and like Watergate, will keep morphing into all kinds of shit. One, we Americans discovered our government is more shitty than we figured.
And two, will Oliver Stone’s Snowden movie be another “All the President’s Men,” but without Bob Redford or Dusty Hoffman. (As a young reporter in the mid-1970s, my internal combustion was set as Hoffman playing Bernstein).
And closer still, today is the launch of one Snowden-influenced project — a portal for whistleblowers at ExposeFacts.org, which will allow those with a leak to leak it (h/t Greg Mitchell):

ExposeFacts aims to shed light on concealed activities that are relevant to human rights, corporate malfeasance, the environment, civil liberties and war.
At a time when key provisions of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are under assault, we are standing up for a free press, privacy, transparency and due process as we seek to reveal official information—whether governmental or corporate—that the public has a right to know.
While no software can provide an ironclad guarantee of confidentiality, ExposeFacts — assisted by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and its “SecureDrop” whistleblower submission system — is utilizing the latest technology on behalf of anonymity for anyone submitting materials via the ExposeFacts.org website.
As journalists we are committed to the goal of protecting the identity of every source who wishes to remain anonymous.
The seasoned editorial board of ExposeFacts will be assessing all the submitted material and, when deemed appropriate, will arrange for journalistic release of information.
In exercising its judgment, the editorial board is able to call on the expertise of the ExposeFacts advisory board, which includes more than 40 journalists, whistleblowers, former U.S. government officials and others with wide-ranging expertise.
We are proud that Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was the first person to become a member of the ExposeFacts advisory board.

And tomorrow, too, a protest Internet-wide called Reset the Net, and powered by heavy-weights like Google, Reddit, Imgur and Boing Boing, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups in order to give the general public the ability to protect ourselves from the 24/7/365 snooping by our own people.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein will hold a a hearing Thursday afternoon on changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs a lot of the NSA’s activities.
More shit from the shit-kickers.

Desite all the loud, noxious noise, most Americans believe Snowden was correct in his actions — from Newsweek:

The survey found that 55 percent of respondents think Snowden did the right thing in exposing PRISM, the mass data-mining program, while another 29 percent believe he was in the wrong, and 16 percent endorse neither statement.
Of Snowden’s supporters, 80 percent said he exposed constitutional violations.
Eighty-two percent of respondents said they still believe corporate information is being monitored by the U.S. government, and 51 percent said their employer has taken steps to make sure corporate files are secure.
Research firm YouGov carried out the study by surveying more than a thousand “employed American adults.”

The big takeaway — 82 percent ‘believe’ the US government is spying on our lives, in just about every way possible.
Jump the snark with a trace.

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