March 03, 2009

Democrat Rep. Jared Polis Gleeful Over Demise Of Rocky Mountain News, Credits Progressive New Media

Speaking at Nutroots Netroots Nation (full audio of quote, first 2 minutes):
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who made his fortune selling greeting cards and flowers online, gave a shout-out to the blogosphere Saturday, giving it — and himself — credit for the "demise" of traditional journalism.

"I have to say, that when we say, 'Who killed the Rocky Mountain News,' we're all part of it, for better or worse, and I argue it's mostly for the better," Polis said at the Netroots Nation in Your Neighborhood event in Westminster, according to a recording posted online. The group supports progressive politics.

"The media is dead, and long live the new media, which is all of us," said Polis, a Boulder Democrat.


The Rocky shuttered its operation Friday.

Polis also told those at the event that "since we killed the newspapers" and "own the media," bloggers and citizen journalists have a responsibility.

"We can't just kill it and walk away," he said. "It's important for all of us to reach out to some of those . . . on the other side and present the progressive point of view," he said.
Polis, sensing a backlash for his irresponsible and insensitive statements given the present economic downturn, has already issued a mealy-mouthed response (h/t Drunkablog):
The end of the Rocky Mountain News was a blow to all of us in Colorado. We were proud to have a city that had two powerful voices, two daily venues for informing the public, and a diversity of editorial voices. Not only has Colorado lost over 200 jobs, but the voice of the RMN has been silenced.

Indeed, some of the blame rests with new media. While there are many other factors that have contributed such as the recession and a decline in advertising, the very fact that we are discussing this issue here, in the online forum of the DP, is demonstrative of the rise of new media. The newspaper industry has yet to figure out how to monetize online traffic, and until they do, I worry not only about the demise of the RMN but I worry about the future of a strong third estate across our great nation.

Jared Polis
The Post traces the development of the story, from short blurb by a citizen journalist who attended the Netroots Nation conference on Saturday, to a full follow-up by Post staff. Polis' office coughed up the audio, so there isn't a "lack of context" to the quote.

The Post concludes:
Polis said what he said with glee. He giggled as he talked about how progressives shared much responsibility in the Rocky’s passing.

Carroll is preparing a column for tomorrow’s paper that goes into the audio in greater detail – and shows how some key statements Polis told Carroll in yesterday’s interview are at odds with the facts.
There is a footnote for citizen journalists of all political stripes--get the facts straight by providing citations and links whenever possible, and even better, get it on tape so that you can't be accused of taking quotes out of context:
To wrap it up, The Post followed traditional journalistic values to provide fast-paced commentary and news on this story.

Some question whether responsible journalism will survive the Internet. Yesterday is proof that responsible journalism only benefits from the Internet and makes good use of the technology.

The example that mainstream media represents is a high bar we expect citizen journalists of all political stripes to meet.

Or be ignored.
I'm not sure how high that MSM bar has been recently, but citizen journalists should take care to maintain credibility. Leave the partisan hackery to the partisan hacks. Cite sources, and if documents are provided (such as through a CORA request) make them available to readers. Where possible, use audio or video to bolster your claims. And always follow up.

So how about that new media eh, Polis?

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