A couple of weeks ago I linked to remarks made by Bob Tippee, editor of Oil and Gas Journal, when he was presented with the Crain Award. Tippee called for journalism that meant “more than flipping press releases and cherry-picking the Reuters file.”
I was remind of Tippee’s perspective earlier this week when I read that an Arizona publisher, 944 Media, had filed for bankruptcy. Both Folio: and minonline covered the story.
Folio: was first out of the gate, and their reporter, Jason Fell, followed up with an update from the company’s spokesperson. minonline followed a day later with a report that noted how “944 Media Has Fun With Its Chapter 11 Filing“.
The tone alone would have been a matter of taste, but what Jason Fell did next tells the whole story. The day after his initial story, Fell reported on the nature of the lawsuits 944 Media claimed had forced it into bankruptcy.
Fell’s legwork, which I complimented in the comments, revealed that there was a contentious and unseemly disagreement behind one of the lawsuits. His additional reporting calls into question the foundation on which 944 is supposedly based.
Fell could have been clever, or just passed the news along. He didn’t do that.
Resources are hardly the issue here. Folio: is an ad-supported trade publication; min and its online counterpoint sell annual subscriptions for $1,000 and up. You have to wonder how many people would continue to pay $1,000 if they saw the difference.
A footnote: I posted what I thought was a reasonable comment on minonline, but after eight hours it hasn’t appeared. I’m hoping that it’s stuck in a queue.