Even as journalists mourn Michael Hastings’ premature death, his unforgiving penmanship is still winning unbridled admiration. His best-known piece, which appeared in a 2010 issue of Rolling Stone, outed General McChyrstal’s contempt for Barack Obama. Soon after, the four-star general was fired. Hastings was only 30. But as young writers move to transform the internet into the 21st century’s journalistic platform, quality control is lower than ever before. Our over-consumption and over-production of junk journalism is ruining the craft.
News outlets are battling new stakes, as they evolve for the iPhone age. Notoriety, once measured by paper sales, is now determined by new-user clicks, monthly-visits, Facebook shares, or tweets. We want your attention. We want our name in your pockets, on your page, your newsfeed, in your mouth, in the ear of your best friend. That is why this headline is trending on BuzzFeed: