Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Curious Inaccessibility of AP (and Reuters, et. al.) Writers

Curious Inaccessibility of AP (and Reuters, et. al.) Writers

I am writing about something that is hardly original.  And yet, not enough is made of the curious inaccessibility of ‘writers’ (scare quotes intended – to indicate that these characters are very often simply wannabe-editorialists with an overseas dateline) for the ‘wire agencies,’ such as AP, UPI, Reuters, AFP, and so on.

I say “curious” inaccessibility, because – in a day when everyone who works for a media outlet has an email address (and when that email address can easily be provided via a link accessibly by a mere mouse-click on the writer’s name, as with many writers who do pieces for, say, realclearpolitics – e.g., as with Tom Bevan, here; or for, as with Ruth Marcus, here, or for MSNBC/Newsweek, as with Christopher Dickey, here) – it is not only frustrating, but also strange that a reader finds it virtually impossible to give any kind of direct (and immediate) feedback to a Karin Laub or a Hasan Jamali or an Ali Daraghmeh or a Robert Burns or – ESPECIALLY to the ever-insufferable Pete Yost.

This sort of “one-way” communication is rather foreign to the Internet culture.  For instance, the big blogs – e.g., Hugh Hewitt or littlegreenfootballs – provide easy access to email replies.  Major Web-based news sites, such as Drudge, WorldNetDaily or – though a bit more than a single mouse-click is normally required in the latter two cases) also provide means of contacting either their editorial staffs or their contributors.  

Say what I will about him (and I have) Kevin Sites’ pieces on Yahoo provide for easy feedback – at least to all registered Yahoo users.  And even a major media news outlet such as Fox News makes it reasonably easy to provide electronic comment.

But . . . NOT SO with AP.  Or Reuters.  Or AFP.  One has to wonder: “And why not?”  Could it perhaps be that AP, UPI, AFP, al-Reuters, etc, just might think that they are “above it all” when it comes to two-way electronic communication with their consumers of their putative “news”– or when it comes to accountability?

I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed forcefully in the blogosphere – especially since AP writers have a pronounced tendency to insert anti-Bush, anti-American, anti-Iraq-War, and/or anti-Republican editorial comments in their “news” pieces.  I often find myself wanting to provide a quick reply to a particular “AP writer” only to find that AP very curiously makes it EXCEEDINGLY hard – if not impossible –  to do so.

I also think a bigger issue should be made of it by such organizations as the Washington Times, WorldNetDaily,, and so forth.  They could put pressure on AP, saying: If you want us to use your news releases, please provide our readers with a means of providing electronic feedback to your writers.

Not that every piece of email received by these writers could possibly be answered – or even read – but, at least, these writers should not be completely  shielded from the responses (both positive and negative) that they are generating in among Internet news consumers.

It ain’t right, I tell you!


Blogger TexasFred said...

Gun Jam, I really like your site, I am going to post a link to you in my side bar, under *Recommended Reading*, if you want to get on the Blog Roll, let me know, just click the link on my blog and follow the directions... Easy as 1 2 3 ...

Wed Jan 25, 11:08:00 PM PST  
Blogger GunJam said...

texasfred: Thank you VERY MUCH for the visit -- the comment -- and the courtesy link! I really appreciate it. Tonight I will try to join your blogroll. If i get stymied, i will ask for help. Thank you, again. -- gunjam

Thu Jan 26, 07:20:00 AM PST  

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