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March 16, 2010 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Professors at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute will soon be voting on "The Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade". There are 80 nominees.
posted by aheckler (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The number of content creators on this list who wouldn't call themselves journalists should tell you everything you need to know about why this industry is dying.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:08 PM on March 16, 2010


This kind of apples to oranges comparison will surely garner them lots of free publicity (see this post for instance) helping them compete in recruiting with their better known uptown rivals, but does it teach us anything more about journalism than simply saying "here's a list of stuff that's really great". What's the added value of the "Top Ten"? How can you really compare these works in any substantive way that won't be largely arbitary.
posted by Jahaza at 5:14 PM on March 16, 2010


This: Nate Silver, coverage of the 2008 presidential election on his blog, FiveThirtyEight
pretty much saved my sanity;

and this: David Grann, "Trial by Fire," The New Yorker, 2009
sort of blew it all to hell again, but in a good way.
posted by sallybrown at 5:14 PM on March 16, 2010


That list of nominees is all over the map. The fact that it includes Thomas Friedman's hilariously bad "The World is Flat" takes the whole thing down the sewer for me.
posted by mediareport at 5:41 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Paul Winfield, the headline: "U.S. ATTACKED," The New York Times, September 12, 2001.

Really? The headline? I prefer "WA- (headline continued on page 2)"
posted by brundlefly at 5:59 PM on March 16, 2010


The number of content creators on this list who wouldn't call themselves journalists should tell you everything you need to know about why this industry is dying.

Heh. When I realized my favorite nominees were probably David Foster Wallace and Ira Glass, I thought the same thing.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:34 PM on March 16, 2010


DFW + McCain is a good read.
posted by localhuman at 6:57 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? No brackets? What kind of March Madness is this?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:27 PM on March 16, 2010


Have these people ever heard of the internet (i.e., the future). Where are the blogs? As we have seen by the demise of the newspaper industry, which means the newspapers are done, and that blogs are future. If you don't believe me, just look at Twitter and Facebook, both internet companies, and both very successful.

Sure, bloggers may not leave their house, but you don't have to go join the Green Berets in Kabul to know what's going on in the Afghanistan War. Plus, that's supposed to be over in a couple months according to Obama anyways. It's a shame--I know I read at least 300 of some of the finest written essays done by some blogs on how greedy Goldman Sachs is. I'm talking Pulitzer quality.

And besides, a huge part of the reason any of those New York Times pieces were any good in the first place is because the Huffington Post wrote a four sentence summary of the articles on it's blog and provided a link to NYT.com.
posted by stevenstevo at 9:34 PM on March 16, 2010


This kind of apples to oranges comparison will surely garner them lots of free publicity (see this post for instance) helping them compete in recruiting with their better known uptown rivals, but does it teach us anything more about journalism than simply saying "here's a list of stuff that's really great". What's the added value of the "Top Ten"? How can you really compare these works in any substantive way that won't be largely arbitary.

There are not any comparisons going on--it's an award given to recognize achievement. NYU is not trying to garner anything. Everyone over the age of two knows there is always a large degree of subjectivity involved in recognizing particular achievements. That's pretty much how life is--I know we have games like basketball where you can count the number of times a ball goes through a basket. But life is not like that, there will always be subjectivity. The Oscars use similar judge voting system, although they did consider having a round-robin tug-of-war tournament this year to determine best original screenplay.

As for how you can compare value, there are lots of ways.

For one, some pieces are good because they do a good job at delivering important an unbiased news to the public. Think of it this way: it's good to know the truth. Once you read a good news story, your brain is then full of knowledge it did not previously possess, and some reports can be truly groundbreaking, changing your outlook and opinion of certain people/events. A good example on the list would be the New Yorker story that broke open the Abu Ghraib investigations. Is that better journalism than an article in People magazine on Lyndsey Lohan? Yes, it is.

Another way you can tell if journalism is valuable to people is if a lot of people took the time to read it or see it. Also, sometimes you can tell because a lot of people will say they found it valuable. For example, the Michael Lewis book Moneyball added value to people's lives. We know that because people buy that which they expect to entertain them and provide them with knowledge. I think there's a bestseller list that can give an idea on the books that people like.
posted by stevenstevo at 10:17 PM on March 16, 2010


Nate Silver. No question. His grasp of electoral realities informed the entire campaign. His "On the Road" features put a human face on the entire election.
posted by SPrintF at 7:16 PM on March 17, 2010


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