How can health and education journalists turn privacy laws to their advantage? Sorry, ProPublica, they can't.

The pep talks journalists give each other are very funny. You have a dead profession that still has to confront the whole deadness thing. It is akin to someone's house being bombed, and someone offers them home decorating tips to make the rubble look nice. This is the same profession howling for gun control when the real problem is the violence driving homicidal people to obtain a weapon to carry out their bloodlust. If you cannot see that, you have no business being a journalist.

ProPublica is offering such a useless article.

It is a primer on how journalists can get information that is covered under privacy laws, and one of the more interesting passages is this one:

ProPublica has often negotiated with or contested rulings by government institutions to pry data out of them. Our persistence has led to groundbreaking findings, such as our analysis of birth complications for our “Lost Mothers” series.

That is quite an advertorial passage, but we have a profession that howls at others using private data -- but then writes how journalists can use private data without considering whether or not people want journalists to use their data.

Journalism is not a public service, even of they give themselves the label ProPublica. Journalists are not licensed. They do not have to answer to any governing body. They are not regulated -- and for someone to show other reports how to circumvent rules to grab private data isn't actually noble, even if the narrative frames it as such.

Because of journalism's aversion to empirical methods, their handling of data has always been self-serving, irresponsible, and hap-hazard. Had they been more honest with their intent, they would have made themselves worthy of obtaining that kind of information. They would have created the channels to rightfully obtain factual information to disseminate to the public, but they didn't.

A blaring example happened a few years ago when the Toronto Star reported on the "dangers" (spoiler alert: it wasn't) of one vaccine. They looked at information that they were not trained to interpret, scared young women out of their gourds, and then were rude and insulting to a physician who wrote about the weaknesses and errors of the Star's report on her blog. When other doctors pointed out the obvious, that's when the paper finally admitted they were wrong.

This article makes too many assumptions, and journalists are not trained nor mandated to get certain information, often for a very good reason.

Because journalism never worked on its structure, its fortunes collapsed, and people began to bypass them because they didn't want tainted and filtered attention. There were consequences to the irresponsible reporting, and this article shows the very mindset why people began shutting out the press and chose to use social media to get their own information, facts, and stories out.

Articles like this gloss over the core rot, and then just give pointers on the self-entitled assumption that journalists should get whatever information they want. Work on your structure first before you go meddling in other people's affairs...