Ahoy! Botched metaphor. I know.
Loose lips might sink ships, circa 1942, but they never torpedoed any ships of journalism. To the contrary. Lip flappers, whistleblowers, gossips and media whores power and embolden entire journalism empires, causing ships to rise off of copy tides. Just look at the numbers for the Guardian empire lately. Off the charts!
Over in less high profile seas, say here down South, in today’s 1-minute news cycle there really is no such thing as a genuine “scoop” brought about by wildly exclusive information. Except when there (rarely) is, of course.
But don’t tell that to the powers-that-be at the AJC, as they’re lashing any remaining, hardworking reporter-bees left on their deck to the mast and thrashing them mightily, as punishment for having failed to sight enough scoops in their cruddy little scopes.
Two independent sources have now told me how Atlanta Journal & Constitution reporters, good ones, are being “written up” (or threatened with some type of disciplinary action) for failing to bring home the bacon fast enough. Failing to reel in genuine news “scoops.”
(“Scoops” being 100% exclusive 411 about specific, non-public events – but before the event occurs, allowing for a news organization to be first out of the gate on disseminating word of that particular news situation; to “own the story” in other words, something that’s increasingly hard to do in our hyper-connected world unless Edward Snowden or Julian Assange just happens to waltz by your office and dump raw intel on your desk. And “written up” being a documented threat by one’s superior to take away one’s job, rank, authority, paycheck and/or general livelihood should you, the super’s underling, not perform in some sort of, subjectively, better manner.)
Mark Winne at WSB-TV, for example, often gets genuine scoops about soon-to-be-made arrests by various Georgia law enforcement, and is thus frequently the first and only reporter in place for that classic, high-value video, law enforcement-enhancing moment – ye olde perp walk.
Of course it’s one of those open secrets in Atlanta old media circles that Winne’s brother is an FBI or GBI agent (I forget which agency) who tips his family member, Mark, off to lots of special events soon to happen. If that’s the case, they’ve had a lock on a good-visuals franchise for years now, and will continue at that game for as long as the gig works, I suppose.