Monday, February 18, 2013

Reporters actually reporting

The New York Times' media reporter David Carr wrote an interesting piece yesterday about a reporter (incidentally one from my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska) doing good old fashioned reporting in the internet age. Carr explains:
On Sunday, Jan. 27, an underground fire cut power in half of downtown. A vivid photograph of unknown provenance, showing fire shooting out of manholes on a city street, began popping up on Reddit, where it had 1.5 million views, and Gawker.
In this age of Photoshop, it wasn’t long before the debates cropped up, on the Web and in Omaha, about the picture’s authenticity. 
Matthew Hansen, a columnist at The Omaha World-Herald, wondered the same thing, and one night found himself in a bar engaged in the real-versus-fake debate. Like many photos on the Web, this one came from everywhere — forwarded, tweeted and blogged — and nowhere — there was no name on the image nor any text to indicate its origin. 
Carr goes on to recount Hansen's search for the origin of the photo—including a description of a odd encounter with someone Hansen calls "Pantsless Kenneth." Carr concludes that this story "serves as a reminder to reporters — and those who read their work — that if journalists take their eyes off the screen, leave their cubicle and actually go out and talk with people, they might discover something that is interesting as heck."

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