Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Oakland Press enlists reporters to train free journalists

Thanks to an anonymous, but impeccable source, I have a copy of the e-mail sent from editor Glenn Gilbert of the Oakland Press. Here is the memo, I will comment after:

Subject: citizens unite

From: Glenn Gilbert [mailto:glenn.gilbert@oakpress.com]
Sent: Tue 12/30/2008 1:32 PM

Our first citizens journalism class was a stunning success. We had 45 people in news and seven in sports. Jeff will handle sports, but in news, 29 of the individuals filled out forms desiring to continue in the process.

There is no way to make this work without staff commitment. I would never ask you to believe something that you don't believe in, but I do need your help. Names will be divided up among newsroom personnel. You will be responsible for working with the individual and accountable for their progress and your contacts with them.

Be generous with your time, but time-efficient. You can learn valuable teaching, coaching and management techniques in the process. Some of you who are teaching oriented will enjoy the process. Just remember, those who teach learn. Let me know if you think you can handle more than one or two individuals, or your interest in the process (or even lack of interest if you feel strongly).

(memo ends here)

Ain't this grand, the editor is strong arming his staff to help those who are in line to replace them. And I love his little aside at the end "or even lack of interest if you feel strongly." If you feel strongly about that you may be replaced sooner than you might anticipate.

And don't think of this as extra work, think of this as a chance to learn more. Where did this guy come from? He had to have been a press secretary for some politician to put out doo-doo like this.

If this is journalism, then Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is the Indianapolis 500. I don't even know what more to say about an idea this stupid.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I would never ask you to believe something that you don't believe in, but I do need your help."

He used that line on his prom date, too.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see the headline:

"Harper University Hospital in Detroit enlists doctors to train free surgeons"

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon we all might be "content providers" and "information brokers." Sans the hefty commissions, of course.

Anonymous said...

Lord, I hate that guy.

Anonymous said...

Might as well as pretend reporters.

Sounds like the place is full of pretend editors.

inky said...

I agree with the first poster: "I would never ask you to believe something that you don't believe in, but I do need your help."

Translation: "I recognize that some of you may be insulted that I think any bonehead off the street can be a journalist, but I actually don't care what you think. So you need to become a teacher and pack four years of journalism school into a night class for people who don't know libel from Shinola. Hopefully your student won't be a registered sex offender or an escapee from the Ypsilanti forensic psychiatry center, but I really don't care about that, either, since you'll be replaced soon."

I hope one of these "citizen journalists" gets the OP embroiled in a big, fat, embarrassing, expensive lawsuit.

Not only is Gilbert's moral compass not working, it seems he threw it on the ground and stomped it. Poyner and CJR need to know about this despot.

Jim of L-Town said...

That's actually a pretty good question. How much background and vetting will the OP do on its citizen "journalists?"

At least incoming paid journalist usually have a resume to check and do a background on.

So what if a convicted felon steps foot in school to do a child feature and that embarassing fact comes out later?