Thursday, March 13, 2014

Journalism startups aren't a revolution if they're filled with all these white men

the guardian reporting:
When the predictive superstar Nate Silver announced last summer that he would defect from the New York Times, it began a wave of new, new money-backed “personal brand” journalism startups that launch in earnest with FiveThirtyEight on ESPN next week. This was supposed to be a good thing. “A very luxurious situation” indeed.
When word leaked a few months later that the billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar would be joining forces with Glenn Greenwald, he had to clarify that the then-unnamed First Look Media would amount to something bigger than one man, a “long-term effort to build a new and exciting platform for journalism” and contribute to “the greater good”....
It is not just the four new (and still exciting) breakout projects of the year: Vice, Quartz, Buzzfeed, Politico, Grantland - these, too, are led by white men, and filled with more of them.
It is as if Arianna Huffington never happened. Or as if diversity of leadership and ownership did not really matter, as long as the data-driven, responsively designed new news becomes a radical and successful enough departure from the drab anecdote laden guff put out by those other men.
...Maybe it is the fault of legacy media for failing to make enough women “marquee journalists” in the first place. Being a “personal brand” superstar journalist is a harder path for women to negotiate, not just through the closure of institutional opportunity, but also through the bruising nature of internet discourse, which can represent an entirely different and much less civilised clubhouse than the equitable one Nate Silver is building at ESPN with so much fanaticism that he hires by chart.

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