A Higher Standard

60 Minutes

We were watching 60 Minutes Sunday evening and they re-ran a report on the dumping of computers under the guise of recycling.  This piece first ran last November and I’m surprised it hasn’t had more repercussions.  As the piece went on, getting more disturbing by the minute, I had one of those little epiphanies I have from time to time and which I like to share with you.  I realized that this piece is why professional content matters. There seems to be a tendency to write off “old” media, or at least to place a lot of what idiots such as me write on the same sort of journalistic pedestal as what the true professionals do.  That’s wrong.  Here’s why:

Executive (the recycling company they were investigating) does recycling in-house, but 60 Minutes was curious about shipping containers that were leaving its Colorado yard. 60 Minutes found one container filled with monitors. They’re especially hazardous because each picture tube, called a cathode ray tube or CRT, contains several pounds of lead. It’s against U.S. law to ship them overseas without special permission. 60 Minutes took down the container’s number and followed it to Tacoma, Wash., where it was loaded on a ship.

When the container left Tacoma, 60 Minutes followed it for 7,459 miles to Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong.

It turns out the container that started in Denver was just one of thousands of containers on an underground, often illegal smuggling route, taking America’s electronic trash to the Far East.

Bloggers don’t have resources or contacts or credibility to do this.  Now before the comment knives come out, I’m not dismissing bloggers or the role they play.  But equate the “reporting” many of them do to the standards still in place at many of the old guard.  They fail miserably.  Many just aggregate the hard work of others and call it journalism.  Ha!

No matter what business you’re in, there is always something special about those who bring a higher standard.  It isn’t that others can’t make as much (or more) noise; it isn’t that they can’t drive revenue.  In my mind it’s sort of the difference between a handmade, finely crafted instrument and one made by the thousands by machine in a factory.  The cheap one is serviceable but the best music comes out of the craftsmanship.

Which standards do you have in place?

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Filed under Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

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