By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Still dissecting

Veteran progressive journalist Danny Schechter will be speaking in Boston at the Ford Hall Forum next Thursday, April 17. I’ve got a preview in the new Boston Phoenix, where you can also find a video clip of Schechter challenging a CNBC reporter at a protest outside Bear Stearns. You can check out Schechter’s voluminous blog here.

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  1. Anonymous

    progressive Journalist HaHaHa

  2. Harry

    The above is an impolite response, but there is a good question here.Dan, please define your term “progressive journalist”, and explain why the adjective is useful.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Left-liberal, Harry, but you already knew that.

  4. Harry

    Why is the adjective “progressive” useful or relevant to describe a journalist?

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Harry, come on, why don’t you just say what’s on your mind? He’s an advocacy journalist, obviously. What’s next?

  6. Anonymous

    My two cents.Progressive to Left-liberal to advocay journalist. That’s the problem with journalists today,a lack of clarity and honesty when dealing with agendas or biases. I hope you are clearer with your students than you are on your blog.

  7. Harry

    Calling him an advocacy journalist is fine by me, Dan. My personal opinion is that there are many such who will not use that adjective to describe themselves or their work, but should.And I think you are being a little edgy here, Dan. Precise questions and careful choice of words should be the stock in trade of a journalist, right? Except of course for advocacy journalists.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Harry: What I’m reacting to is your apparent need to be cute rather than just making your point. I don’t think Schechter would object in the least to being called an advocacy journalist or a left-liberal. Or a progressive.

  9. Harry

    I am not being cute. Just precise. Here is the point. If Schechter worked as journalist for a mainstream media organ, the fact that his own political views are correctly labeled as “progressive” or “left-liberal” should not (in theory) impact his reporting.If Schechter is an “advocacy journalist”, then his personal views may well run rampant through his reporting…as they do in the work of talk radio hosts or bloggers from all parts of the ideological spectrum.Do you agree?Thus when I hear a J-school prof refer to someone as a “progressive journalist” sounds odd to me, and worth questioning. The strongly liberal personal politics of mainstream reporters supposedly do not pollute their reporting (or so we are repeatedly assured by editors, ombudsmen and J-school profs). The last time I personally heard Schechter was when he worked for WBCN in the 1970s. I would label his reports from that era as clearly being “advocacy journalism”. However in those same years WBCN had one of the largest radio audience in Boston.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Harry: Schechter has had a long and distinguished career. You should check him out.

  11. Anonymous

    Speaking as a journalist, Dan, I’d say you’re ducking the point. If you’re an advocate, you’ve given up your chance to be a journalist. You have to choose. There’s no middle ground for “advocacy journalist.” Having encountered Schechter a few times, I’d say he’s clearly an advocate.You’re right: He wouldn’t at all mind the label of advocacy journalist. Of course he’d like us to think of him as a journalist. And I wouldn’t mind being called a virgin, but I gave up that opportunity some time ago.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 6:03: I could not disagree with you more strongly about advocacy journalism. If anything, it has a longer and more distinguished history than objective reporting. From Tom Paine to the muckrakers, from I.F. Stone to William F. Buckley — wow. Do you really think you have to choose? You’re throwing some pretty distinguished people out of the pantheon.

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