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Inside the Guardian and the Snowden Leaks 239

Posted by timothy
from the if-it-bleeds-it-leads dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An interesting and thoughtful article in the New Yorker about the inner workings of the Guardian newspaper. It explains a lot about why the Snowden files ended up there and not elsewhere. Given all the snark on Slashdot about the sorry state of modern journalism, it is well worth a read to see one organization that got it right. An illustrative quote about Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian's editor: 'He has a really useful piece of equipment that most editors don't have, which is a spinal column.' I would encourage everyone to read this, and if you support the type of journalism the Guardian has been engaging in, think about buying a subscription. The article also talks about the financial side of the newspaper business, and real journalism is not going to happen unless somebody pays for it."
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Inside the Guardian and the Snowden Leaks

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  • Reference Newspapers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bob_super (3391281) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:02PM (#45094857)
    Dear slashdotters, The Guardian is quickly becoming one of my preferred references. Can you help me broaden my horizons by naming other good newspapers? (English/French/Spanish language only sorry)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:09PM (#45094933)

      Honestly, I would recommend reading diverse viewpoints. I read fox news, huffington post, bbc & al jazeera on a daily basis. I buy the atlantic and the economist. Then the daily show & the onion :)

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        Honestly, I would recommend reading diverse viewpoints.

        I totally agree. Most of these journalists and editors do find out the truth, before they decide how to spin and twist and embellish it to create either sensationalism, or their preferred narrative. And since they don't all have the exact same goals, an intelligent critical thinker can often tease at least some of the truth out of the differing lies.

        • good comment, definitely we should all make a point to seek out different points of view in news...

          however, having worked in news (Fox affilitate in Iowa a century ago) I can tell you this is not going to get you 'diversity'

          I would recommend reading diverse viewpoints. I read fox news, huffington post, bbc....

          It's the Fox News thing...

          See it's a false dichotomy and drastic oversimplification to say 'MSNBC is for liberals, Fox is for conservatives, therefor to have balance I must watch both'

          The premise is w

          • /.'ers please forgive my error, I posted the above comment in the wrong thread...will look more closely before I post next time ;)

          • Re:false diversity (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Yomers (863527) on Friday October 11, 2013 @02:47AM (#45099077) Journal
            BBC and Fox often present the same message different ways. For example on foreign wars - BBC shows some children in caves, children are suffering - cold, hungry, afraid of bombings by pro-government forces and want to return to normal life. After successful campaign children miraculously disappear - like in Libya, where anarchy currently is so widespread that PM was recently kidnapped. But evil dictator is dead, so children must be ok now, sure :) Fox message is just like "He is an enemy of US, we will destroy him!" - more straightforward, less sickening.

            I remember how those "think of the children" news are made - I was around 15 y.o. in Moscow, it was around 1992, presumably Japanese news channel (there was russian producer who told us that) filmed as as "Russian punks". They told us to come to building in our block that was scheduled for demolition, generously gave us each 2 packs of marlboro and some vodka, somebody brought a guitar. So we were to sing russian punk songs while drinking vodka from a bottle and smoking cigarettes, all this with broken windows and overall mess of a building scheduled for demolition as a background. I do not know if it was shown or not, if shown we could be orphans of war near dwelling, half destroyed by government aviation in Chechnya, or where it was needed at the moment.
      • by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @04:36PM (#45095899) Journal

        I'd probably recommend the reverse order.

        Things will get less factual as you proceed from right to left (in your list).

        • by s.petry (762400) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @10:15PM (#45098071)
          Fox is more factual than the BBC? I'm not claiming that the BBC is "good" mind you, but Fox has as much credibility to me as "The Star". This is the company that fought up through the US Supreme Court that "News is Entertainment" and that they had no journalistic responsibility to show people factual information on the "News." Sadly they won...
      • by tomtomtom (580791)

        I'd add either the (UK, not Australian) Telegraph or (preferably) the Financial Times to that list (much better than the WSJ). Particularly for financial/business stories I almost never read the mainstream press, they are simply awful at reporting these things (usually misunderstanding, missing key details, or over-sensationalising stories as well as over-simplifying - the BBC is particularly bad at this). Bloomberg generally does a decent job most of the time on them and is worth following for that as it's

      • good comment, definitely we should all make a point to seek out different points of view in news...

        however, having worked in news (Fox affilitate in Iowa a century ago) I can tell you this is not going to get you 'diversity'

        I would recommend reading diverse viewpoints. I read fox news, huffington post, bbc....

        It's the Fox News thing...

        See it's a false dichotomy and drastic oversimplification to say 'MSNBC is for liberals, Fox is for conservatives, therefor to have balance I must watch both'

        The premise is wr

        • by dbIII (701233)

          Also, the BBC should be watched with caution regarding U.S. news...I've yet to see them demonstrate a true understanding of how our 2-party, 3-branch system works

          Alastair Cook used to explain it very well to non-US audiences via the BBC but he is sadly no longer with us. The gruesome footnote to him spending decades explaining the weirdness of American to the outside world is that his grave was robbed by people looking for artificial joints to sell into your utterly fucked up health system.

      • by mutube (981006)

        fox news

        Adding noise to your sample doesn't improve its accuracy.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:46PM (#45095343)

      http://www.economist.com/ [economist.com]

      • by gander666 (723553) *
        Beat me to it. I have been a subscriber for more years than I can remember. Worth every penny.
      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:59PM (#45095505)

        http://www.economist.com/ [economist.com]

        I second this. The journalists at The Economist are mostly British, although most subscribers are American. It is very entertaining to read news about America from an outsider's perspective, especially about typical American issues, like our dysfunctional health care system, guns, abortion, etc.

        As for American news magazines, like Time or Newsweek, I wouldn't even use them to line my parakeet's cage, for fear that I would end up with a retarded parakeet.

        • I'll third this. I like the Economist. I don't always AGREE with them, but they clearly do their homework, they are decently good at seperating their opinion from the facts, and reading them makes me more informed. It probably does help that they are Brits. I enjoy their take on the US news. Tony
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I used to read The Economist regularly, and also had a print subscription for a year too.

          As an Indian, let me tell you this: The Economist doesn't have "outsider's perspective". Although that is how it is marketed (and is received in most of the Europe). It is a British publication. And, as any avid non-European reader can tell you, it is vapid anti-China. You should take that seriously because it is coming out of an Indian's mouth.

          I guess it looks more balanced than most American publishers because the Br

      • Have you not noticed the steady decline in quality at the Economist?

        I used to be a huge fan of the Economist. However, I won't be renewing my subscription this time around.

        The Economist's "outsider perspective" on America has become anything but.
        • Or maybe you're just disagreeing with them? They have pretty evenly been conservative leaning in their opinions for a long time. Lately, they HAVE been bandying around the opinion that the state of the US is pretty stupid, and they've been naming blame.

          Perhaps you don't like who they're blaming? Lately, it's been the conservatives.

          Out of curiousity, what decline in quality are you noticing? Can you give some more information? They seem just as informative and fact presenting as they've always been to me

    • by komodo685 (2920329) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:49PM (#45095387)

      4 Points
      1) Diversity is good, but... You must keep in mind that is not sufficient reason to read a source. A 'diversity' of falsehoods is worthless.
      2) You can't read everything. Choose the areas that mean the most to you (international affairs, economics, national or local politics, etc) and try to find 2-3 sources that seem to do good work in those areas.
      3) Be aware who is paying the bills. The consumers/adverisers in typical newspapers? Purely advertisers as in television/online reporting? Government in state funded broadcasting? I don't believe reporters will bend their views to match the person paying the bills. Instead reporters with unsympathetic views will often not get hired in the first place (probably not a lot of leftwingers in Fox or rightwingers on MSNBC). I'd strongly recommend reading Manufacturing Consent [wikipedia.org] for more information.
      4) Let your choices evolve. The editors today may not be the editors tomorrow. Companies get bought out, new ones arise. How much longer will the Guardian's editor remain?

      My recommendations:
      The guardian [theguardian.com] -- You already have your reasons. I think their dissimenating the NSA leaks and wikileaks info when no one else would [gawker.com] is justification enough.
      al jazeera [aljazeera.com] -- Particularly foreign viewpoint, high quality.
      Democracy Now [democracynow.org] -- Not the best quality but clearly believe what they say and is run off donations. Also provides an American (important to me as I am one) viewpoint on things.
      Their are others I think are probably good and have seen other posters mention already but I'm not experienced enough with them to know.

    • by gamanimatron (1327245) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @04:20PM (#45095749) Journal
      www.ft.com [ft.com]

      Their focus is mostly financial, but I really enjoy their world news reporting. Whenever I pick up a "normal" paper here, even (especially?) one of the "big" ones, it seems that they're trying to sell me an extreme viewpoint - and maybe some male enhancement products to go with it - rather than actually impart any information. The FT is much more reporting like I remember it used to be. Maybe because they actually charge enough for their paper to cover their costs.
    • The English translation of the German magazine, Der Spiegel [spiegel.de].

    • by jregel (39009)

      In the UK, I rate the Independent, along with the aforementioned Guardian.

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      In France: Mediapart http://www.mediapart.fr/ [mediapart.fr] and Le Canard Enchaîné http://lecanardenchaine.fr/ [lecanardenchaine.fr]
      Mediapart has an english version: http://www.mediapart.fr/en/english [mediapart.fr]

      Mediapart outs corrupt politicians, while Le Canard Enchaîné has a lot of information from government's insiders.
      Mediapart is serious, and wants to go on a crusade against corruption.
      Le Canard is humorous, full of excellent puns, and somewhat disillusioned about politics (they are systematically sued, but rarely lose their law

    • by utkonos (2104836)
      This paper does still count for your request, since it has an English language online version - Novaya Gazeta [wikipedia.org] from Russia. This is one of the trustworthy news sources from Russia. Most news outlets in Russia are state owned, but this one is a rare occurrence of the paper's staff controlling 51%. This, however, is not the reason why I find the paper trustworthy. It is a bit of a grim statistic, but Novaya Gazeta has more journalists killed than any other news outlet in Russia [wikipedia.org]. The majority of whom were eithe
      • by Yomers (863527)
        As a Russian I can not agree with you on Novaya Gazeta and Echo Moskvi. AFAIK those are very boring - whatever happens it's always one conclusion - Russian government is shit and country is going down. For example Snowden? Same - http://www.echo.msk.ru/blog/dobrokhotov/1127964-echo/ [echo.msk.ru] . Really, anything that happens anywhere - conclusion is always the same, it's just boring. Unbiased news source? LOL
    • by manu0601 (2221348)
      French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique [monde-diplomatique.fr] (also known as the "diplo"). International editions are available, including english edition [mondediplo.com].
    • by bfandreas (603438)
      I've been looking for something similar in English, German and French. Sorry, there's only DER SPIEGEL and teh Gauniard. A word to the wise, though. The Kindle edition of Hte Guadrian seems not be be poorly edited but not edited at all. but not edited at all it reads exactly like this post. And as a UK newspaper expect a lot of reports on badger culling, the latest NHS bungling and some soccer/football.
      DER SPIEGEL being DER SPIEGEL does not have a Kindle edition. They rely on apps for iOs and Android and v
    • by mutube (981006)

      The Independent [independent.co.uk] is another good UK paper. It seems positioned slightly less left/more liberal/more free market compared to the Guardian (my take). They also make a point of having intelligent dissenting opinions in the paper - so you get to see well reasoned arguments from different sides instead of a battle of talking-heads-who-shout-loudest.

      Makes a good reading companion to the Guardian.

    • by coolmadsi (823103)

      Dear slashdotters, The Guardian is quickly becoming one of my preferred references. Can you help me broaden my horizons by naming other good newspapers? (English/French/Spanish language only sorry)

      Not sure if it counts as a newspaper (it comes out fortnightly), but in the UK there is the Private Eye. A lot of the content is satire, but they also report on topics not covered by other papers.

      As an example, when the Leveson report was being released, they covered the bits that the other papers were not reporting on (namely the bits that made them look bad), and also recently have reported on some of the big the tax evasion techniques being used by big companies (again, some of the other newspapers eithe

    • by advid.net (595837)

      My three daily readings are :

      new.google.com - not a reference site per se but sometimes news can be reported from less mainstream media. Chose a national edition (/?ned=xx in url) for other languages, spanish speaking world has quite a different coverage.

      Al Jazeera [aljazeera.com], as many pointed out here. Many subjects are covered with much less biased point of view than in western media. Pretty good and quality journalism. Some in-depth coverage samples: BP disaster [aljazeera.net] and one year later [aljazeera.net].

      Slashdot ... again not a refe

    • by jools33 (252092)

      The independent has some very good journalists and good stories, although slightly more tabloid oriented they are quite happy to take on the establishment. Especially a certain Robert Fisk (if you're interested in middle east news at all) his columns are unmatched.

  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:02PM (#45094863)

    Very interesting read. The thing that shocks me the most is that there is still such extensive censorship going on around the world, including in the U.K.

    " On Davies’s advice, Rusbridger took the unprecedented step of bringing in the New York Times as a partner. A British newspaper might be blocked from publishing, but an American outlet would have First Amendment protection."

  • Modern journalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mseeger (40923) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:22PM (#45095105)

    What do you expect from journalism?

    As long as a story about Lindsay Lohans latest rehab draws ten times as much readers as some background article about the NSA spying capabilities while being less risky at the same time, the development is clear.

    Do you really expect someone to risk the ire of that organisation that can dig (or make) up your dirtiest secrets in order to get less readers? You have to be an idealist or crazy (or preferably both) to do so.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @03:51PM (#45095417)

    One of the side effects of the rise of the blogging hordes is the death of traditional journalism. Even if old media is biased one way or another, the decent newspapers of record have some respect for journalistic integrity. Reporting on a government corruption scandal is very different from reporting on the latest iPhone over at Engadget or the endless stream of celebrity garbage "news." Seeking out the real story from actual, verifiable sources rather than a blogger posting their own opinion as fact is the difference. While I'm sure some bloggers are journalists in the traditional sense, not all are, and blogs are even more sensitive to producing content that makes people click than newspapers are.

    Some people may cite this as anti-progress, but look at media prior to the Internet, in fact, before cable TV. There were only 3 network news sources, and a few newspapers of record producing content. Now there's tons of media outlets, thousands of random bloggers, and an increasing trend of the medial outlets crowdsourcing content from their readers (CNN iReport, etc. etc.) Having so many choices means that opinions are more diverse, but conversely it also means that it narrows people's viewpoints. Conservatives are Fox News fans, but they're also fans of even more conservative bloggers. It makes liberals more liberal and conservatives more conservative, and that leads to situations like we're in today with Congress and the Tea Party faction. You would never have something like this in the 50s/60s simply because the population didn't have enough customized hot-button content to whip them into whatever polarized frenzy they're into.

    Traditional journalism does need to return to media, but as the submitter states, you have to pay for it, and integrity doesn't pay the bills like the latest unverified rumor from a friend of a friend of Lindsey Lohan...

    • by dbIII (701233)

      One of the side effects of the rise of the blogging hordes is the death of traditional journalism

      Budget cuts pretty well killed that off before this site even existed let alone most blogs.

    • by bfandreas (603438)
      The Bloggers have the edge on speed. But they only get the obvious or stuff they are personally involved.
      Investigative journalism takes a lot of analysis of data from a lot of sources and that takes time.

      The bloggers also write short 500 word texts. In contrast a proper newspaper will have much longer texts with a lot more detail. I remember reading an article in a weekly publication about the Boston bombers just the week after it happened. They had quotes from the mother, friends, people who knew them.
  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @04:48PM (#45096001)
    If Snowden had gone to the NYT they would have folded to government pressure. At a minimum they would have "vetted" the releases with the Feds, and as a result all of the important revelations would not be published. It is more likely the Times would have handed over the raw files and then published a bunch of bland articles that whitewashed the entire situation.

    The NTY has been riding the work of Woodward and Bernstein since Watergate. That was a long time ago, and now they are in the pocket of intrenched special interests, just like the rest of US journalism.

    It's a sad day when no major new organization in the US can be counted on to stand up to external pressure, whether it be economic or political. It ironic that a newspaper in the UK is doing the heavy lifting in this case, since there is no constitutional protection of the press in England, and there is in the US.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      W&B worked for the Washington Post, not the NYT.

    • If a Republican were in the White House, the NYT would have reported on this instantly and heavily. When Bush was in office, the NYT leaked confidential info that put our troops in danger. And look at the constant stream of stories they did on Abu Gharib and interrogation techniques. Why weren't they scared of the feds then?

      The main reason the American media are holding back on this story is because Obama is currently in the White House.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Like that time with the Iraq war and the cheerleading?

      • by dbIII (701233)

        they did on Abu Gharib and interrogation techniques

        At that point there were still high ranking members of the military that were sickened by what the spooks were up to and willing to talk about it off the record.

  • With all its faults, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times are American publications I take seriously.

    Many have pointed out Economist, Al Jazeera and The Atlantic. Here are few others worth mentioning...

    The New Yorker

    The Times of India

    The Indian Express

    The Hindu

    Outlook India and Tehelka (Indian weekly news magazines.)

    Der Spiegel (they have an excellent English edition.)

    South China Morning Post

    Caijing Daily (they als
    • by bfandreas (603438)
      ...which is propably a copy&paste list of the publications who defined their view on journalism in today's edition of the Guardian. I've read that too on my daily commute. There's a lot of repition in it but it still is a highly interesting read.

      Just be warned that the print edition of DER SPIEGEL differs quite a lot from the online version. They have different editorial staff and the truly valuable articles of the print edition never make it into the online version(but you can buy them as PDF). The G

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

Working...