Sunday, August 23, 2009

Shark Sandwich

Rising Tide IV was by all accounts another stimulating and successful event. Particularly to be noted is that this conference has been cobbled together, not by an organization, but a group of individuals with day jobs, and scant experience in the “proper” way one plans and hosts such events. The rough around the edges quality of the venue, assortment of chairs, kooky green stage lights and so on really makes it clear that this is the product of (to use the much overused term) outsiders and upstarts who will not let you off with polite applause.

But the day passed without a signature “incident” and Adrastos’rather subdued blue and white patterned shirt remained untouched by the Gray Ghost's handiwork.

So, back to that “outsiders and upstart” thing, one post RT tradition is reading exactly what sort of backhand compliment the Times-Picayune will bestow on the event in the Sunday paper. Of course, acknowledging “bloggers” as anything other than an unseemly lot of cutthroats and villains which any sensible person would promptly ignore and up their subscription to the “balanced” and “dignified” mimeographed pamphlet that the Times Picayune seems to have shrunken to, is clearly against editorial policy. So, as with last year they instead focus solely on the keynote and minimize any mention of exactly what the conference is about.

Efforts to accurately explain to the nation what happened in New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, have failed, comic Harry Shearer told a few hundred bloggers who gathered Saturday for an annual meeting of writers committed to sharing the city's story in print and online. TP

Staff writer Katy Reckdahl would have us believe those pesky bloggers attended some sort of conference about real writers. Which, I suppose, Katy Reckdahl considers herself to be, and to prove it she proceeds to recount her impressions of Harry Shearer’s address by tripping over a sting of seemingly random quotes strung together with blocks of paraphrasing or fabricated transitions in that god awful technique that some idiot in journalism school claimed would make you seem all “journalisticy”. On the whole a real shit sandwich of "journalistism".

I remember how the biggest dolts I knew in college were “communications” majors, but seriously, does this person really get paid for this? I understand the wheels really came of the profession when the press decided they were more than "reporters", no they were "journalists" and all shall love them and despaire. No wonder they are so scared of bloggers.

And that is still pretty cool.


Clay said...

Today's Picayune had a lot of really interesting articles, but half of them were horribly written. The Obama interview and the Harry Shearer article were two awful ones. The NOPS Board article was fantastic, but I guess the Picayune ran out of their front bench on the other two. The series of random "quotations in quotations" were terrible. I did that on my post, but that's because i was liveblogging and I later went back and fleshed it out some. I also wasn't being paid to put that in print.

They also missed/refused to report on the giant middle finger directed at troll-filled

Huck said...

celsus - I agree with you on the TP article covering the conference. It was pure crapola. But I don't think the conference was "rough around the edges" at all! The venue was funky (the Zeitgeist is meant to be funky), but the panel sessions, the book sale, the breakfast and lunch setups, the panelists, the orderliness of the registration table, and especially the tech setups were really on the ball, I thought. I've been to stuffy academic conferences that were much less enjoyable and much more poorly organized.



Tim said...

I liked how the TP says "a few hundred bloggers." Even they could not diminish the power of the event.

Of course, I far as I know nobody knew Ms. Reckdahl was there, so she must have snuck in to maintain her journalistic integrity and not get too involved with us mere "bloggers" who are not "writers."

Glad you were there, too.



bayoustjohndavid said...

"I remember how the biggest dolts I knew in college were “communications” majors, but seriously, does this person really get paid for this?"

I vaguely recall P.J. O'Rourke saying something similar about education majors. At least education majors need to be able to get through statistics. I asked a friend if his journalism major daughter had to take any statistics course -- he laughed. If they're going to pride themselves on being being professionals, you'd think their professional training would include at least a couple of courses in how to examine the numbers that politicians and activists routinely use to buffalo the public. Instead, journalists seem to as proudly, or at least blithely, innumerate as English instructors.

Not my comment's related to your post in more than a tangential way