Last Friday, the media industry toasted BuzzFeed for successfully drawing the attention of nearly 800,000 Facebook users to a livestream of two employees wrapping hundreds of rubber bands around a watermelon until the fruit exploded. The gambit capped another quarter of widespread confidence in BuzzFeed’s business model, which sells native advertising against a mix of silly listicles and enterprise reporting published on an ever-increasing number of third-party platforms, with everything heavily underwritten by periodic injections of venture capital.
Imagine this: a burst of tweets show a bus explosion on the interstate, sending up a tremendous mushroom cloud, visible from miles away. How many people are hurt? Or dead? What caused the explosion? No one knows, because all the reporters decided to give the victims and bystanders space, and respected everyone’s need to process the trauma before answering questions about it.
The New York Times jealously guards its status as America’s paper of record through an obsessive focus on decorum and propriety. So it’s interesting to see in two leaked photos that the paper’s brass has a sense of humor behind its respectable front—even if that humor veers into “making light of mass killings” territory.
Over the weekend, the Sunday Times published an article quoting British government sources claiming that China and Russia had hacked Edward Snowden’s NSA files, putting agents in danger. Where was the proof? Reporter Tom Harper appeared on CNN last night to explain: “Well, uh, I don’t know, to be honest with you.”
You might think of reporters as nothing more than pencil-pushing dorks and neutered Twitter-shouters, and this is basically correct. But according to new Edward Snowden documents published by The Guardian, Britain's NSA equivalent thinks investigative journalists should be treated much like terrorist threats.
You likely haven't heard of Frederick County, Md., councilman Kirby Delauter, and that's exactly the way Kirby Delauter likes it. In a textbook example of the Streisand Effect—which should probably be renamed The Kirby Delauter Effect at this point—Kirby Delauter threatened a local journalist who dared to publish his name.