Journalism Changing In 'The Post-Kardashian Era'
This is KPBS Midday Edition I'm Maureen Cavanugh. Had ever seen the TV show keeping up with the Kardashian's? Which are admitted if you have? Even if you're the kind of person who would never watch that kind of show, you probably know more about it than you think it's probably already influenced a lot of what you see and hear. Blend of news celebrity entertainment is driving much of the information we get in the way that information is obtained. Tonight a panel of local media experts will discuss how traditional journalism is contending with news and the post Kardashian era. Earlier spoke with two of his panelists Kevin brass's column was a feature writer for the New York Times among other publications. He's a former media reporter for the LA Times San Diego magazine and KPBS. He's the author of the book the cult of true land. And Irene McCormick was the communications director for mayor Bob Phil nurse she was the first person to publicly accused the owner of sexual harassment she is now a crisis communication specials. Person interview. Kevin brass, many people have been critical of celebrity culture and how it's infiltrated journalism. What exactly do the confessions had to do with it?'s neck with their credible placeholder right? The kind refer to a group of celebrity that more than anything else is famous for being famous. Right, it's a wholly gratuitous newsletter [ Indiscernible ] used to be an actress or done something her life to deserve a certain amount celebrity. Beyond that, there is this level of coverage of them as news which has really moved the bar and when you talk about the world that covers the Kardashian's, it is huge. The volume of outlets that are covering this level of celebrity is completely unprecedented and that's really where starting point is. If our society is success with celebrity Kevin doesn't it make sense to news media would reflect that?'s direct that's a really good point in the question then becomes the decisions that are made almost every day in the newsroom about what to cover and what not to cover. And the reality is in abuse example before is that suddenly Caitlin Jenner comes more newsworthy than you know the euro crisis or war-torn Syria and that's where the bar gets moved because you have to compete and that's what you are competing get for somebody who's going to his Caitlin in headline. Right, not the penalty will also discuss the rise of click beat journalism. Could you define that for us? Sure, click bait is simply journalism or an article that's based on the idea of simply getting your attention. Based on nothing else but getting your attention. And that is become a huge player in the world of media your call when you look at who's getting funded, I refer to as feed, their valuation is alien to the time when traditional media shrieking. And the reason they are doing that is because they can attract attention and the way they do it is with that headline. Had lessons you must learn today about toe fungus, whatever but that's what they're going to do to get your attention. And we've all seen websites like this, Huffington Post is a bit like this and others are even more latent and these click bait pop up on a lot of websites that don't even have anything to do with news. You know, 10 plastic surgery disasters or something like that. Have good traditional media there for the fall the media is going towards the buzz feeds, how can they compete with the click beat journalism? That really is the question and you have to walk his life trying to get attention for your news which you feel is important while doing it at this level where this competition for those eyeballs and for that attention so when you described when you describe is different news organizations, we assume the future competition is online, so you have to compete online. And so, I think what use are like rooms to devote more is this idea of journalism that does not compete, that doesn't try to play that game talking about nonprofits. Talking organizations that have a different agenda than simply trying to get the biggest audience. So the idea that all this pop culture news tends I think in the public to trivialize the news media, but it's actually hurting traditional journalism because it's taking eyes and dollars away from these traditional media outlets? Let's face it, the news consumer doesn't always know the difference and that's a big problem. They lump all these things together. They don't understand the boxer MSNBC is not necessarily a news organization that they have an agenda and that's true of a bus speed or TMC. They just see it in headline gets disseminated and they don't other difference. You recount a story where you saw the coming, what the coming future was going to be when you covered the Kobe Bryant story in the small town in Colorado and at that same time, news media outlets across the country were cutting back. They were actually laying off their personnel because they were crunching and trying to reorganize but apparently they had enough dissent on this story. Also about resources right? It's how you're going to use your resources.'s you've got a picture of the scene. This is Eagle Colorado this is the middle of the work progresses our side of Denver and for all that period or than a year every single day that Kobe Bryant was just showing up will be hundreds of crews there. NBC, CBS L had permanent comments and ego with the permit structures of the courthouse lawn that's what was important. Know there was nothing going on in accordance of for the pack the Kobe Bryant was quite walking everyday. And that's where they were to reporting the resources? Snack right, that was what was important to have their making a decision that was other and spend the money. Is issued on newsroom cross-country. Neighboring Irene McCormick into the conversation. Now, you have a particular advantage point on the subject point having been reporter and then the person in the middle of the media frenzy surrounding the filler story. Did you, Irene have any idea the kind of media interest you would phase after going public about the minerals sexual-harassment? No, I thought I did but I had no clue. What was going to be like and I didn't know what it was when to be like until I walked into the press conference that I had with my attorney Gloria Allred and was overwhelmed by the number of cameras, microphones and people shoved into one little tiny room. It was overwhelming. And what happened after that because I knew it was going to be big but not that big, was the encampment that Kevin talked about of CNN and MSNBC and Fox news and TMC and all the other journalistic out this outside City Hall until Mayor Filner resigned. Serviceable day while I was at work, you know, I left the building with a hood on or something like that because I really did want them to follow me down the street all the time. You say was overwhelming. Was also fighting? Was frightening to and it's funny wasn't really worried about myself is worried about my family more than anything. My daughters, you know my mom and dad, that kind of thing, but I think it got a little frightening sometimes because people which write biting cars and honked their horns and yell I didn't know what they were yelling. Was people are incredibly kind. I me to this day I can women who come up to me and thanked me tremendously for what I've done, but it stress me out so badly that I got very ill. So is tough to deal with for the first eight or nine months after I did that. Now, Irene, having been reporter did you understand what these media people wanted? Shirted. But also understood traditional media with what to talk to me about why did you do this? What decision -- were compelled you to go forward with this? Why now? What you were from? Anything to those sort of questions. What appeared where the reporters are going to dig through my trashcan. Were going to rest my family. Were looking to take out something in the past that they could say got you and make the headline on pit necessarily buzz feeds the like on TMC and make it really difficult for me to deal with you know, the reality of being in the media spotlight. I couldn't even get my car washed, you know without I've, six, seven people trotting up and saying something and even most of it was kind, it's still worth a lot. Kevin brass, is this particular vantage point that Irene has the reason that you wanted her on this panel strike index Mac very much so because this human side of the stories is often forgotten. There's all sorts of innocent people or people who were just on the side of Zrich understory that are just swept into it. Heaven forbid you be a neighbor of some of who does something horrible. You are going to be presented and if there's something they can attach to you it's going to be headline because they are just looking for a headline to attract the story. It happens all the time. Every big story with these guys start getting on it there's names that pop up for a day there in the news cycle pictures of the stories that terminate Don. A lot of people get her in that. Yeah, and sometimes they're just looking for photograph. Just to be the carwash you know? That's the big front of the day. Right, and you know, I took to my Facebook page, public. I didn't think about it like a home that afternoon as a result of stuff and I'm like Al and so I shut it down. Are really didn't have to I guess, you just don't know what's coming in actually until you're in the middle of it you don't realize it the stress that associate with a. Its extraordinary. Will let me ask you this, Irene, if you had known what was going to be when you open that door and walked in with Gloria already insolvency of all sorts of different reporters there and the people who would sort of how to the next several months, which have come forward? Yes, I had to. You know, there are certain exhibits my decision one of things I knew is that my daughters were grown they could handle the pressure. If they were young the measure I would've done it. And I also knew that in employment law, the only way that Bob Feller would be forced to resign as if somebody who was employed by him action made the allegations. So I knew that I was in a way in a bizarre sense because it hurt so badly in the long run that I was the perfect person at the perfect time to take somebody out of office who is doing this consistently. And we knew was consistent because right after my press conference I think the next day within two days there were more women who came forward and said yes, he did the same thing to me. But I would imagine, Kevin, the peer is this kind of scrutiny would stop some people from convert? Exactly, you're right. It's a perfect example of the position you are in. The way you phrased that is exactly right. It has to be part of your decision-making process. If you're really ready to accept the consequences of doing what you feel is right. But I got a tell you, what happened after that though is I didn't realize it was going to put my career. It's a career I worked on 30 years. I've been a journalist for 25. I worked as an executive at the Port of San Diego for 10 and then the next thing I know I do have a career after this happens. You know, because I'm in the news, who wants to hire someone who you never know is going to be stocked by another media outlet? So anywhere I would've gone would have in a story, you see, not necessarily traditional media but for some media organizations hope that my career which is really difficult for me to handle. Let's talk about that for a moment or two. Do you feel therefore Kevin, that the ethics involved in the kind of general some that a TMC organization would follow are different than the kind of ethics that a standard journalistic enterprise like you know, the dark times? [ Indiscernible ] sure, I mean tremendous differences and harboring to talk about what it was like to have TMC chase you down with the only goal of trying to get you to say something. The ceiling goal right? They will shall something that you just for the idea of maybe getting a quick flip of video which is their goal story. But then again you know, the irony is the tablets and TMC have look at the big stories. That they broke the John Edward Skynyrd and he was a candidate for president. That was huge, huge celebrity stories like the Michael Jackson's desk other celebrity deaths. Dumping a qualified subway is legitimate news organization? The word legitimate is kind of tough to get your hands around. There's no doubt they are covering many of the same stories and having more people on the story certainly can add two more headlines and news coverage of that story, but because their ethics are different you have to have some at least alter to what they are producing. The traditional media used to be that filter these to decide well this is coming from the source we will take a day and maybe researching ourselves. That filter has got away. Delta comes Al -- exhibits out there they're going to report the rumor is that you like to have two. So that's the downside to having this type of coverage. There's no level of scrutiny for what they produce. Icy. I see your point. And I guess another one of the big questions that arise in this post Kardashian era as you are talking about is who is a reporter? I mean, is it someone who's got to journals of school or is it someone with an iPhone in a blog? One of the people under penalty night is public information officer for the Senegal Police Department and that's one of the questions I want to ask him. How do they decide who qualifies for press level entry to a crime scene or new story? Has you're right, I've no idea how to answer the question. Aren't given feeling about that connects back I think tonight when we discuss it, I think you will see that people say all most anyone with a smart phone has the ability to send video to somebody to look at to be a journalist, but there's been talk for several years now about how community general -- journalists [ Indiscernible ] is the Burmese to use years ago streaming some organization because of his traditional journalist. No, could be TMC. Could be anybody at this point. Anything to make the news now. Absolutely anything. Fastening discussion. Want to let everyone know that I've been speaking with Kevin Bryson Irene McCormick will be part of a panel discussion tonight on journalism in the post Kardashian era in the starts at 7 PM at point Loma University. It's free and open to the public. Much of thank you both so much. Think very much.
A panel of local journalists and public relations experts will discuss Thursday at Point Loma Nazarene University how traditional journalism is contending with news in the "click-bait" era.
Kevin Brass, a columnist and feature writer for The New York Times, is moderating the panel discussion. Brass said click-bait is an article that's based on nothing else but getting your attention.
"That has become a huge player in the world of media," Brass said. "When you look at who's getting funded ... like Buzzfeed, well their valuation is billions at a time when traditional media is shrinking."
Irene McCormack, the first of many women to accuse former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment, said she didn’t realize how the media attention would affect her.
“I knew the media pretty well,” McCormack, a former reporter and editor at The San Diego Union-Tribune, told KPBS Evening Edition this week. “I was able to see what was going to come. But the experience itself is quite different than knowing it.”
“I had no clue how intense it was going to be, how stressful it was going to be, and what it would do to my psyche,” she said.
“Journalism in the Post-Kardashian Era” is sponsored by the San Diego Press Club. The event starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at PLNU's Fermanian Conference Center at 3900 Lomaland Drive in San Diego. It's free and open to the public.