Journalists do not know what journalism is. They have destroyed the journalism, and now they are calculating and scheming, trying to make themselves credible and relevant again without having to admit flaw or making any fundamental changes.
The window-dressing gets very pathetic. We have "data journalism" being bandied about as if it were without flaw, and it is flawed beyond credibility.
Poynter is the reporter's cheerleading apologist organization, and offers nothing to actually improve journalism. It more or less serves as its spokes-organization.
Now, it is trying to turn journalism into some sort of team-building exercise that employers force upon their employees in lieu of raises and promotions to humiliate them and remind them of being a captive audience in high school.
The team-building is being called "dialogue journalism."
It is not journalism, of course. Journalism is not a mediator or meddler, let alone social engineer. It has nothing to do with fact-gathering. What it is trying to do is to forego facts and deal with opposing opinion. Trying to sit its backside on two partisan chairs, trying to convince both sides it has something to offer them both.
But as "public service journalism" fell flat, it is trying to spin the optics into something else now.
It is a manipulative ploy, and Poynter does its best in this article to spin it to sound as if it were doing something important, instead of leaching from both sides of the fence:
A coalition of American newsrooms is working to overcome the anger and divisiveness driving the national debate over guns and gun violence by convening 150 people across the political and cultural divide in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Guns, an American Conversation,” is a new approach to public service journalism that will bring together Americans of diverse perspectives and experiences in a closed, month-long moderated Facebook group to discuss guns and other related social issues, according to a news release from Advance Local.
According to a news release, so you know this is nothing but a cheap PR stunt, trying to take advantage of high school students and the gun debate. We have teenagers who are killing other teenagers on sprees, in gang warfare, and even though indirect means of cyber-bullying. Why are so many of these young people trying to pass the buck like a politician, instead of wondering what is happening to their own generation?
Where have they failed? Their parents? Their governments?
Their media who shamelessly exploit them?
There is no dialogue to be had without facts.
Everyone has cheap opinions based on self-interest and convenience.
What we need are facts about the ugly reality happening right now.
You have teenagers who make the conscious decision to find a weapon, go to their high school, and mow down people -- and as many as possible. This is not a gun control problem.
This is a violence problem.
Every one of these teenaged killers had blaring warning signs that they were about to explode. Other teenagers saw it. Teachers saw it. Parents saw it. Social workers saw it. Doctors saw it. Psychologists saw it. Police saw it.
They write of their intentions online.
And no one stops them. They don't stop themselves, either.
Why have we created a generation of passive spectators?
Why do we have so many young people choose to be mass murderers?
And journalists come up with "dialogue"?
And they pretend there are "two sides" here?
There are no "two sides."
There are children killing children.
And those would-be killers see what happens to those other ones -- how ugly is their downfall...and they still decide killing other kids is some sort of solution.
Do people think taking legal guns away will prevent a single murder when seeing the consequences of other young killers does nothing to dissuade them?
We don't know because the real facts we need aren't forthcoming.
The notion of "dialogue journalism" is a toxic one that does not address the sickness that destroyed journalism.
People are not angry because some people want guns and other people don't. People are afraid of dying, and they have no real facts to give them any hint of a solution -- so they go for whatever easy no-brainer solution they think will serve their self-interest.
The problem is not guns. The problem is homicidal people who are determined to murder, even if it costs them their lives.
Take away the guns, they'll mow everyone down with a car, or make a bomb to detonate.
And yet Poynter insists on selling snake oil, thinking no one will notice that journalism is a rotted industry.
The label you stick in the front cannot fix the problem in the back. The "dialogue" is a meaningless phrase because you never bothered to fix the "journalism."
It is akin to having "dialogue fascism" or a "compassionate rapist." You corrupted your own identity -- and slapping on a feel-good adjective out in the front doesn't cover up the stench from the back.
Find facts. Stop pretending that "public service" or "dialogue" journalism is a thing.
Because they are not because journalism itself is no longer a thing.
Find out why you have raised so many mass murderers.
A direct, straightforward, and humble approach would be a nice start.
Angering teens and their mommies would get the ball rolling. Let Twitter throw howling fits.
Because that is what we need to know, but not what we actually want to know.
But we need to know it.
We need to stop playing make pretend with labels and feel-good prattle.
Because you can take away every gun in the world, and tomorrow, another homicidal person will take down whoever they target.
Labels cannot be used in a profession that is supposed to chronicle reality and truth.
Because labels are hypothetical constructs, nothing more.
And it is time to stop playing games and deal with the ugly truths that confine us.