In Depth

Daisy's Digital Diary: March 17, 2008

I am old media and proud of it.

OK, fine.

So maybe I am new media too. But I am only new media in the sense that I produce content for new media vehicles, such as Web video and blogs.

But the content I produce is old media. And I mean that in the good sense of the term. I don’t mean that in the stodgy, set-in-your-ways, Luddite, clinging to the past, going screaming and kicking into the future, if at all, way.

Allow me to explain. I attended South by Southwest Interactive in Austin last week, marking the first time TelevisionWeek had a presence at the show. While there I had the chance to meet a slew of Web stars and video bloggers, some of whom I have interviewed for articles.

During a conversation there one of my sources said I was “old media” because I had declined the source’s request to send an article to the source prior to publication. It was an article that hadn’t run yet in TVWeek. I explained that I don’t show my stories to anyone but my editor in advance.

“That is so old media,” the source said. “Everything should be transparent. Everything should be open. Everything should post right away.”

I do believe in transparency. But transparency means covering all your bases in a story. Transparency means saying “So-and-so declined a request for comment.” Transparency means showing that as a reporter I made every effort to talk to all parties involved.

Transparency doesn’t mean printing or posting every single e-mail from a source or every single sentence from my interview notes. I don’t want to do that and I certainly don’t think my sources want me to do that.

This isn’t about me. It’s about the sources. It’s about protecting the sources, which is something I am committed to doing as an old media and a new media journalist.

So I explained why I don’t show stories to anyone but my editor in advance. I said, “If you told me something was off the record, I wouldn’t print that. That’s my commitment to you as a source.”

That’s part of my journalistic ethics. Well, the corollary to that is I have to extend the same commitment to my editors. And I do that by not showing stories to anyone but them in advance of publication.”

I am old media covering new media and loving it.