The journalism industry is having a bit of a hard time these last couple of decades, you may have heard. And the main way the journalism industry has responded to the crisis in the journalism industry is by dramatically lowering the quality of the journalism industry’s primary product, which is journalism. Here, in a brilliant video by some random AP person (probably a stringer?) in the Los Angeles foothills, is perhaps the most damning indictment of the current ridiculous requirement that all random news reporters also shoot some incredibly crappy, boring video to make sure nobody ever wants to look at news again.
Our good friend and colleague Tim Blair, a right-wing Australian online terrorist and infamous columnist for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, recently visited Wonkette’s Western Bureau and told many hilarious stories during the usual drunken haze, and one of these stories involved a Melbourne tabloid photographer who was notorious for carrying around a soiled, banged-up teddy bear which he would judiciously place at the scene of automobile crashes before shooting the heartbreaking pictures that would decorate whatever banal police report article.
A common unemployed graduate of a journalism school would say, “Eww, that’s unethical, and now I’m going to have my testicles waxed, again, at the beauty salon, using my mom’s Discover card.” And while such a statement would be invariably true, it’s also true that most of what passes for “news” is deadly boring. A rainstorm is deadly boring unless you just happen to be in the one place at the right instant when something dramatic happens, like the Orphans’ Home being sucked into a giant sinkhole. Get there an hour later, like this poor AP schlub, and you’ll be shooting crappy video through a point & shoot of some police cars parked here and there between what appears to be harmless puddles of mud.
A skilled news photographer, however, would come back from that same banal scene with something. A good beat reporter who knew the cops wouldn’t be standing there on the wrong side of the police line, either. He or she would be handing off bribe bags of donuts and burritos on the way to an exclusive view of the sinkhole that swallowed all 127 residents of the Pasadena Home for Crippled Children. And then the reporter would delicately place the mud-smeared “Woody” from Toy Story at the edge of the abyss, and America would have an enjoyable photographic representation of the terrible winter storm that is slowly and quietly doing about a gazillion billion dollars of damage to the aged and crumbling infrastructure of California.