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Techrights Does Reporting, Not Clickbait or Paid-for Spam

Memes don't lie, but they can amuse/entertain

Y-U-No fact-check? Deadlines and advertisers
Deadlines and advertisers aren't valid excuses for spreading falsehoods -- or yet worse, outright lies

Summary: The calamity seen across publishers (not limited to any particular area or segment) is partly due to a lack of trust, which is sometimes the fault of these publishers (desperate money-grabbing moves and click-bait-centric strategies)

THE state of journalism is in general appalling, no matter where one looks. Yes, no matter the language/country, no matter the topic, no matter the authors... although there are still some exceptions.

The problem isn't limited to "tech" or to "Linux"; it would be wrong to frame it that way. Part of the issue is lack of investment/funding -- a subject we wrote about many times over the years. It's a lot easier and faster to just burp out some shallow 'article' based on something a Public Relations department produced, using its corporate budget; sometimes articles in the media get directly sponsored by the corporations they cover (or sponsored less directly, e.g. with advertising contracts). The end goal and the actual outcome are the same; it's not journalism.

Read, Verify, Analyse, Only then start typingInvestigative journalism takes a very long time. Some of the subjects we cover here I've known very well for decades and I can refine my arguments over time. Critical skills help. Some have dubbed this "scientific journalism" because it involves assessing what is right and what is wrong, not "two side-ism" or fake "balance"; the job of journalism isn't just to give a voice to two sides but to speak to both and then assess who is right and who is wrong (or less right), then report the conclusions. That's journalism.

Over the past few weeks I spent over 30 hours studying the Freenode situation; it's still an ongoing investigation, but we've pretty much made our mind based on available material from both sides. Doing journalism doesn't take a degree in journalism; "professional journalism" typically means receiving a salary for writing in rich people's rags. Well, journalism is a lot of work and very hard work. Because it can take 10 hours to study and then prepare a piece which takes less than 10 minutes to read. But that's what it takes to properly inform people. Sites that barely have any readers see that as an unworthy investment of time.

We're fortunate that here in this site we have many readers (over WWW, IPFS, Gemini and pure text/bulletins), so putting a ton of effort into studying topics is usually worth it. I didn't study journalism, I studied software engineering and while doing my doctoral studies I started writing more and more; learning how to do journalism came from experience, not coursework.

Honest writing = Poetic justiceGoing against the flow is sometimes needed, especially when confronting big corporations with massive budget for 'perception management' campaigns (that's an actual term in the realm of PR, related to shaping of perceptions). If journalism is done right and if hard evidence is presented, even injustices and falsehoods can be combated. In the case of Freenode we've taken a look at what actually happened [1, 2] (owner locked out by 2FA) before leaping to any rushed conclusions. We feel gratified to see that our reporting turned out to be accurate or at least more balanced than most.

This new video, sent to us by an associate this morning, correctly points out that a lot of today's 'news' is just spam/fluff/paid-for cruft, often composed by tweaking press releases, with authors who have no clue whatsoever what they 'write' about... and it wasn't always this bad. The person who made this video is a former insider, both in PR and in journalism (some defect from one to the other, i.e. becoming corporate media operatives or former journalists leveraging their credential/credibility to lie on behalf of corporations, sometimes using their connections to manipulate the media). We saw two examples of this only hours ago; for instance, Boing Boing is now belittling Bill Gates scandals and abuses while CNBC helps distract from Microsoft complicity. Media operatives working overtime to save brands? We can see the authors' names and recognise these. In several different publications in fact. In CNBC and in prior employers Jordan Novet has been nothing short of a Microsoft operative looking to distract from Microsoft lies, crimes, and fraud. Now he helps cover up for Bill Gates too... it's so shallow that it's not hard to decipher the true objectives. This isn't journalism but cheesy PR. We omit links as they would not contribute to this discussion.

"While it's understandable that people who write for a living wish and even need to make income somehow, lying to people or bombarding the media with garbage isn't an ethical way to bring home the bacon."In the case of the above-mentioned video, Mr. Lunduke is not aware that ZDNet and Tech Republic are the same publisher (scroll down to the bottom of the pages of the latter). He calls them completely separate, but the opposite is true. That former news site is now owned and run by a marketing company funded by IBM, Microsoft, and the Linux Foundation (funded in turn by such companies) to post fluff and provocative lies. While it's understandable that people who write for a living wish and even need to make income somehow, lying to people or bombarding the media with garbage isn't an ethical way to bring home the bacon.

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Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
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