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Alternate jobs for journos

23 Jun 2010
Posted by Shannon

A U.S Press Club panel suggests that out-of-work journos may be able to pick up a gig with the CIA or a host of other intelligence agencies, which have been forced into the news biz.

With all the dying newspapers cutting their foreign bureaus to save money, spooks have been left scrambling for intel. So they're hiring journos to gather it for them. 

They call the sort of fact-finding found in newspapers  “open source intelligence” although the rest of us refer to it as the coffee break.

Whatever it’s called,  the lack of professional newsgathering has left the cloak-and-dagger set without a reliable source. As the pros have long said: bloggers lack the necessary attention to accuracy and detail to be of any practical use to readers, including spies. 

The obvious solution – have the gov’t start funding journalism as a public service – has proven unreliable. The U.S. Defense Department tried funding CNN to run a website on news from Afghanistan and Pakistan, but inevitably the program’s funding was diverted into spygames.

That said, I think the idea has potential. Being a secret agent is so much more glamorous than being an ink-stained wretch. And this business model could provide an alternate revenue stream for the likes of Canwest. It wouldn’t be much of leap, since the National Post already cheers for a variety of government causes: denying climate change, blessing Israel’s actions; celebrating Christian fundamentalism.

Really, if Canwest isn’t being paid directly for that service, they should be.