Saturday, December 17, 2011

What counts today as front-page journalism at the Tennessean

There are so many stories of import to our local communities that the local daily could have put on the front page today. What did they lead with? Klout scores.

Do you know what Klout is? No? You don't count then.

Jesus! Well, you gotta have Klout this instant! 
The highest attainable Klout score, 100, is owned by only Justin Bieber. If he is the ideal you strive for you got to go out and get more Klout now. Don't wait. Never mind that this is the "next big thing" marketed to a fickle clientele that yesterday preached that you needed a stable of Facebook friends, a bevy of Foursquare badges, and whatever else you do, GetGlue.

But I'll wager that this Tennessean story has nothing to do with reporting news and more to do with what seems to be a pattern which I noted last August of the newspaper picking and promoting the voices in local social media it assumes to be legitimate. Instead of conducting investigative journalism to excavate news that actually affects us, the Tennessean is using these select voices to promote itself and, admittedly, "to protect its brand". The editorial thrust at the Tennessean seems to be networking and generating a web of influence that will support Gannett's corporate wish list. In September a Tennessean editor even indicated that one of the reasons her company sponsors a local social media conference was to poach other companies' employees.

If you are focused on rising up the pecking order of influence in this town, the Tennessean is defining how you can do that and providing you free publicity fluff as you do. In the mean time, the newspaper is ignoring legitimate local news and is generating a vacuum that those of us who are not plugged in are going to have to step into if we want to disseminate news and information here. And the fact that the Tennessean is defining which voices count most in Nashville's echo chamber of influence makes our work that much more marginalized, and hence, that much harder.

But if Justin Bieber is your ideal and you want some clout at the local paper, you got to have your Klout this instant.

1 comment:

  1. If you work for The Tennessean, you work for nothing more than the devils's money. The paper does NOTHING more than accept cash and work for advocates of Satan like McNeely, Piggott & Fox. Years ago, I bought the paper on a daily basis. Today, I will rarely even read a free copy that I find laying about at McDonalds. It offers nothing but the blow-horn of local PR companies. The paper SUCKS.