“If someone can correctly explain a position but continue to disagree with it, that position is less likely to be correct. And if ability to correctly explain a position leads almost automatically to agreement with it, that position is more likely to be correct. (See free trade). It’s not a perfect criterion, of course, especially for highly idiosyncratic views. But the ability to pass ideological Turing tests - to state opposing views as clearly and persuasively as their proponents - is a genuine symptom of objectivity and wisdom.”—Bryan Caplan
I decided to illustrate this by talking about what The Wall Street Journal wouldn’t have done last week in a social media-less world.
Saturday, 26 April
On Saturday, Sam Dagher, our Syria correspondent, would not have shared images of Aleppo. Sam had been to the city the previous week but did not share tweets and images while he was there due to safety concerns.
On Tuesday, we would not have used user-generated content in a video. Storyful verified and licensed the footage from Ukraine and we were able to use it in a video package.
Wednesday, 30 April
On Wednesday, Matt Bradley would not have shared WorldStream clips of the Iraq elections. WorldStream, social videos that are up to 45 seconds in length, provide colour, insight and a snapshot of a story.
Thursday, 1 May
On May Day, the day of protests in Turkey, our Istanbul bureau chief Joe Parkinson would not have re-shared this photo.
In a world without social media, The Wall Street Journal would not have used Facebook video and an Instagram image to tell this story of an oil train crash in Lynchburg. Both the video and image were verified and licensed by Storyful.
Friday, 2 May
On Friday, Matina Stevis, who is based in Brussels, would not have been tweeting on behalf of a journalist in Ukraine and would not have got a safety message out, warning journalists not to go to Slovyansk.
Bojan Pancevski, who is a Sunday Times reporter, found he couldn’t tweet. He therefore asked Matina, a friend, to share the message on his behalf. Matina tried logging into his Twitter account but could not get access so pushed out the message from her own account to her 35,000 followers.
“I wanted to inject myself into a team and a product and at a moment in time where I could have a significant impact. I think they’ve completely innovated in terms of the digital news space. I’m super psyched to free Matt up to focus intensely on product, and I’ll worry about everything else.”—John Maloney, former Tumblr president and new Circa President (via Jeff Bercovici at Forbes)
“We’re at ‘peak photographer’ at the moment. There is an entire idiot class of professional photographer who seem to believe they’re creating something essential every time they pick up a camera. It’s not the photographer’s fault. I blame the creative directors who commission them. There are way too many photographs in the world. Think of how many pictures have been taken all over the world in the time you’ve read this article – even this sentence. This is another sentence I’ve just typed, so that’s like a ton more. All these images multiplying and multiplying. All those shitty pictures of cats and beautiful sunsets that sit dying in the corner of your smart phone, shared with the hope of being liked by people who all have the same thousand pictures hiding on their phone. All these forgettable memories. I don’t see that’s much different from the endless stream of boring fashion pictures, boring travel pictures, boring still lifes of food that are commissioned by magazines, ad agencies, marketing firms. For every Juergen Teller there are a million Terry Richardsons. So let’s just stop. Or just use what’s there already. Or at least think about it. Sorry I’ve lost my thread. What was the question again?”—Richard Turley
“But now I’m wondering if what I consider “reporting” is just a form of aggregating, of skimming, of lifting the best parts of a scientist’s work and repurposing it for my own interests. These scientists have spent many, many years doing research, much of it at the very edge of the knowable, where finding a new piece of solid data is a laborious process that may require long nights at the computer or the laboratory bench, or mulling a bust of Galileo, and this work has to be slotted among other obligations, including grant applications, peer-reviewing papers, teaching, advising graduate students, holding office hours, serving on faculty committees and schmoozing at the faculty club. And here I am calling up and saying: “Give me the fruit of your mental labors.” Asking for the ripest fruit, as it were. Asking not just for information but for wisdom. Give it to me! For free. And they did, because they always do, because we have a system of sorts.”—Joel Achenbach