Daily Archives: August 19, 2008

We get the journalism we spend our attention on

You saw my last post where I showed how our journalistic resources are being squandered on a sporting event.

But now is time to look into the mirror. Truth is there’s lots of great journalism being done to uncover the important issues of our day. We just don’t care.

Rick Smolan is one of the most successful photographers of our time. His book, Day in the Life of America, is still the only coffee-table photo book to reach the top of the New York Times Bestseller list.

Yet last week when I visited him in his home in New York City he told me that only three newspapers reviewed one of his latest works: Blue Planet Run, which includes stunning photojournalism from hundreds of the world’s top photographers about the coming water crisis (which is already killing hundreds of thousands of people around the world and is a more immediate problem for billions of people than Global Warming).

Look in the mirror. Do you care? I don’t. I’d rather watch a sporting event.

Our server logs demonstrate you are the same way. You’d rather watch the Olympics too and you know it.

Anyway, Rick and Amazon are giving away the book for free now so you can see some great photojournalism. It’s a stunning book. Shocking.

Speaking of sporting events, I interviewed the guy who designs sports stadiums around the world (he designed Seattle’s Safeco Field, Los Angeles’s Staples Stadium, among others. I learned a lot about his creative process).

I also, last week, interviewed one of the developers behind NBC’s Olympics Website.

See, even I am giving my audience what it wants: sports! :-)

We get the media we spend our attention on.

Don’t cry for journalists…

Look at this photo from the Olympics. I count about 75 photographers, each decked out with a $9,000 (or more expensive) camera and lens (and most of them are carrying several cameras).

This is in a year when tons of journalists are getting laid off.

This is in a year when there are tons of stories around the world that aren’t getting reported on.

Could we take half of those photographers and send them to Russia, for instance?

Or, Somalia?

Or, New Orleans?

Or Iran?

Or Congress?

You’re telling me that 67 of the world’s most expensive photojournalists are needed to make pictures of a sporting event and that they couldn’t be better used somewhere else?

OK, let’s say you’re correct. Well, then, don’t ask me to cry when your jobs go away because your business model is being disrupted. Don’t ask me to cry when a gossip magazine breaks a story that you should have. Don’t ask me to cry when Huffington Post gets more page views than your Olympics photos do.