Here is AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll defending what I believe were a seriously flawed story and tweet about some of Clinton Foundation donors Hillary Clinton happened to meet with while Secretary of State.
I bring this clip to you because it contains — as my friend Jay Rosen would say — specimens for study, two specimens revealing the difficulty classical journalism has adapting to a new media ecosystem today.
CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter recounts the difficulties the AP had getting Clinton’s meeting records and then asks his audience: “Did they just want to show they had done the work, did they just want to show they had found something, even if it didn’t amount to much?”
Carroll’s answer: “We didn’t say it amounted to the end of the world. We said this is an important and interesting thing that people should know about.”
Editors love to tout news judgment as a key value that journalists add to the flow of information in society. What is the AP’s news judgment here? How important is this story? Somewhere between interesting and the end of the world: You decide.
The article is a superb forensic analysis of a company failing to adapt to a new world (twitter, eh?). Mundane, except that AP’s failure has significant repercussions for politics, news, well, everyone.
“It was clumsy,” Carroll admits. “We’re better at news-gathering than we are at promotion.” In Carroll’s view, then, Twitter is merely an advertising vehicle, a means of promoting the AP’s real work: articles. She does not see it — or, one presumes, the rest of social media — as another form of reporting, another means of informing the public.