Friday, June 23, 2006

Nice work Robert Gehrke.

Robert Gehrke's piece on John Jacob leads off with Jacob's belief that Satan is opposing him in the race against Cannon. Gehrke even includes Jacobs' request "I don't want you to print that."

Nice work letting people talk off the record, Robert. Good to see that weak journalistic ethics are still alive and well at the Trib. Have you all sold any inside information to a tabloid yet this year?

[Salt Lake Tribune - Jacob's bad luck: Is it . . . Satan?]


Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH: If you want something off the record, you have to request it before you go spouting off. If journalists let politicians take things back after the fact, nothing would ever be said. There is a difference between talking on the record, off the record and on background. Learn them before you spout off on your blog, since you guys seem to be calling yourselves "journalists" these days.

A REAL journalist

Mike Jones said...

REAL journalist:

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. My question for you is: how does saying "I don't want you to print that" not make something off the record? Please tell me the precise difference between on the record, off the record and on background. Honestly, I am curious.


P.S. I guess the Dan Rather thing with Bush's Guard service in Viet Nam wasn't a real shining moment for you all in the apparent struggle between the blogosphere and the real news?

Anonymous said...

If you start a conversation, and say, "Can we go off the record," and the reporter agrees, the reporter cannot use what the person says until the reporter coaxes that person back ON the record. Oftentimes I've had high-ranking politicians say something really, well shall we say saucy, and then backtrack and say "Please don't print that." If it doesn't make my story any better, oftentimes I won't, because I have a working relationship with that source. But if what they said is THE STORY, I'm not going to let them back off. Jacob knew he was spouting off, that's why he later said, "Now when that gets out in the paper, I'm going to be one of the screw-loose people."

Obviously the whole "devil hates me" idea was going to get press, with Jacob pushing it to the Trib's editorial board and at an immigration event.

Most journalists have sources that are completely "on background" sources that are never quoted in the paper. We simply talk to these people, find out what they know then use that information to get someone else to comment on.

Then, in everyday interviews with sources, reporters will often be asked to jump on and off the record. Reporters would love to stay on the record all the time, but it seems the public is fascinated with the whole, "I'm deep throat talking off the record" ideal.

Hope that helps.


Anonymous said...

RJ is absolutely right.

Snarky criticism is fun and fine, but if you fancy yourself a media critic try to become a little better informed.

As for tying in all the lousy things journalists have done -- sure. You're absolutely right. Let's add Jason Blair and Stephen Glass to the list while we're at it.

But any decent journalist checks his or her facts before going to print. You could have called any J-school in the country or put in a call to any reporter, to see if you were on the right track with your criticism. You didn't even make the effort. Which makes you just an angry guy with a mediocre blog.

I'll keep reading in the hopes that you improve.