Friday, March 12, 2010

A Little Knowledge

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a journalist. I don't really know why, mainly because I never put much thought into it. I guess it's really the part of me that enjoys researching things. As this weblog can attest, it's certainly not because I'm an expert writer. But now, I'm glad it didn't. Not because what I'm doing with my life now comes close to living the dream, but because, as often as I complain about the media, I understand that being a journalist is really a difficult job.

Case in point.

“Skeptics note that porn sites would likely keep their existing ‘.com’ storefronts, even as they set up shop in the new ‘.xxx’ domain name, thereby expanding the number of porn sites on the Internet.”
Global Internet agency reconsiders `.xxx' for porn sites
Tom Maliti, the article's author, doesn't tell us which skeptics of using .xxx for adult sites passed along this note to him. But if I may be allowed to offer completely some unsolicited advice - stop using those guys as sources - especially on background. Anyone who's going to tell you something that makes you look like an idiot when you publish it, should have to do so in public. Now, I don't consider myself all that technologically savvy, but even I know that if decides to also register, that's not automatically another distinct web site - any more than my getting another telephone number from the phone company means that I must have two homes. Just because the URLs are in different top-level domains doesn't mean that they resolve to different IP addresses. While I'm sketchy on the exact details of how Web servers work, I do get that much (I think). But perhaps that does make me better educated about the World Wide Web than the average Joe - even if the average Joe happens to be a reporter.

And therein is the rub. I'm sure that reporters are called upon to document things that they have little knowledge about on a regular basis, and every so often, they stumble into something that, if they knew better, they wouldn't have submitted (and if their editors had known better, they would have corrected). Yes, I know I'm suddenly being somewhat of a softie on this issue - and standing down from my usual zero-tolerance of what strike me a obvious journalistic errors. Maybe because I've had some time to think about this before I wrote it, or maybe I'm just mellowing in my old age. So I'm cutting Mr. Maliti a little slack. Because he's got a hard job. But he'd better not let me catch him flubbing it again.

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