The Ivory Tower’s migrating ideological hamster wheel and why j-schools cannot be modernized. They can only be replaced.

Journalism always need empirical methods, but it is not like academia. Academia is isolated from reality and has buffers. It can take decades to unfold and relies on outside funding from parties with vested interests in cures, technology, marketing, even entertainment.

Journalism is not that. It cannot afford to theorize or overthink. It is not there to inculcate or give lectures to the little people: it is there to find the truths hidden in lies and report them. Academia and journalism are incompatible, and if they ever got together, academics would take over, and turn the dead corpse of journalism into a Frankenstein monster, and then twist logic to argue that an undead beast is a good thing.

You have theories how j-schools need to modernize. No, they need to be shut down, and a new method of teaching take over. You need radicalization and revolution that rebels against journalism and academia, while taking elements of both to create something new.

Academia is not in a good place. You have students dictating how they will be educated, which is sheer lunacy, but given that professors are isolated from the rest of society as if they were monks, they don’t know how to push back because they know what they have is flawed. We have accusations of an Euro-centric system, but what we need is not diversity: what we need is universality: finding core principles that are present across the board, regardless of “centricity”. Reality may be situational, but truth is not. There is no such thing as “your truth” — you do not own it as it is not a slave to primitive, manipulative, and selfish humans. It is larger than us.

We do not even own reality, either: it is shared space. What we own are our own perceptions, interpretations, illusions, fantasies, and delusions, and these are various forms of baggage we ought to rid ourselves of as soon as possible. 

Academia lost its confidence because it failed to rid itself of many of its own fantasies and delusions, and, to appease the angry mob, gave in to their fantasies. That is not the place to create a science of information-gathering that is suppose to reflect reality and find truth.

The Ivory Tower spun on a hamster wheel, slowly migrating to the Left.

But true information dissemination must always be radically centrist. You do not take sides. Heads or tail — why does it matter? It is still the same silly coin. You cannot say one side is superior to the other when they are made of the same substance.

Journalism should have not taken sides: it should have examined the coin itself — how much is it worth, for starters. Whose currency is it? What is it going to be used for and why?

The scientific method does have methods information-gatherers should take, and it should avoid the social sciences entirely as they are fraught with their own problems that journalism doesn’t need to inherent.

Psychology seems like a social science, but over time, it moved away from its philosophy roots and made a leap toward the sciences. Journalism could benefit doing the same — but to adapt those methods where the laboratory is the real world.

But it has to be done from scratch. The old guard from both will refuse to admit their shortcomings and limitations and will try to remodel it to their old methods. It needs to be done with a solid foundation without that baggage from either.

It should take the best of both, adding more to the mix, ensuring it does not become political or static.

It’s a tall order, but the meandering methods of academia do not translate into journalism as their mandates and purposes clash. Journalism needs empirical methods, but not as if it were being done in an Ivory Tower where it will be covering people as if they were lab rats in a box. It’s not neat and tidy. It’s a mess, and the world needs applied empirical psychologists chronicling the world around them.

You will not find any of that in a single university. You will not find that in any media outlet. Both have things a new version requires — but a new method needs freedom from rules and truisms to truly grow.

It’s always someone else’s fault, but don’t worry: it will all work out in the end. Journalism’s broken mindset. Deflect, deny, and then be chipper.


The Guardian seems alarmed as the following headline signals:

Don’t give elites a legal way to strangle investigative journalism

Oh honey, that ship has sailed. Elites already strangled it. To death. Now it is a question of them causing indignity to the profession’s corpse.

Journalism used hero worship and made Great Man narratives acceptable, and then those people got in power, thanks to the press, and now can prevent others from making a play for their power by rigging laws to keep that power.

But kudos to The Guardian for at least being aware that being in a pine box is a bad thing.

Canadian journalists are not so clever. The Flamborough Review is as dumb as dirt. So oblivious is the paper is they had the nerve to publish this piece of Pollyanna dreck:

Journalism will live on

Inherent humane desire for reliable information will never fade, writes Gergyek

No, it won’t. We have a dead press with a smattering of partisan propagandists who either bash Trump or look for positive in rot. Journalism is dead.

It needs a replacement that is not journalism. You can get information in other ways other than journalism. Sunny spinning rot is engaging in lies.

Of course, the Review had to find a hapless j-school student to do it.

And j-school students aren’t the rebellious sort. They are mimics who parrot whatever they hear without question.

The proof? There is this amateur propaganda piece from the Concordian, a student newspaper:

What looms on the horizon for journalism?

And then the standard chipper denial:

Even though journalism is facing enormous challenges, the profession is going through somewhat of a renaissance. That was the general consensus among panelists at the Journalism and Media Conference, held in the McGill University Student Centre from Feb. 26 to 28.

Memo to clueless j-school student who obvious has no ability to have an independent thought: the industry has not gone through any renaissance. That’s what deluded narcissists say as a defence mechanism. The industry collapsed.

Job losses continue. Outlets are closing. Those cocky owners begged the federal government to give them money to subsist.

There is no investigative journalism anymore. Online publications are begging for money. They pander to partisan audiences, and it is not enough — and the act means there is no journalism. At what point does the new generation face their reality, stop their conniving bootlicking of authority figures, rise up, and go through a down and dirty innovative revolution?

Your elders are so used to bragging and lying how great everything is that they cannot lose face and admit the truth. Stop being their well-trained lapdogs, j-school kids.

Open your eyes and look everywhere around you, not just where some people in a dead profession tell you to see.

Even the tiny Gander Beacon, though having an editorial that blares with the headline “Journalism in jeopardy”, is still not computing. The editorial seems to believe that tweaking to be more user-friendly on the Internet is enough. No internal soul-searching. No revolution of the core. Maybe it will all turn around.


A collapsed building cannot “turn around.” You have to take away the rubble, and build again — but in such a way that the next building won’t suffer the same fate. Build it better — and then keep watch on ensuring the building doesn’t rot from neglect — or that squatters don’t move in to use that building as a cover for their own dark purposes.

But journalism has a broken mindset — deny the obvious problems. If you cannot deny them, blame someone else. Then if you must, do something to make the fringe look better without making fundamental changes. And when everything collapses, believe everything will work itself out in the end.

How can anyone trust chroniclers of the world with a deluded mindset like that?

At least the UK still has some journalistic mettle, and some morals in seeing what is going on. Canada, and even the US have no such compass. That is the reason their press collapsed harder and faster. It is not just that those in the industry are in hard denial: it is that the new generation are just as oblivious and lethargic. They see that coffin, and do not have the sense not to jump into it.

Journalism is dead and it won’t wake up just to make you be able to brag to your little fake friends that maybe one day you’ll be “famous”.

A revolution is absolutely crucial — one that brings a new kind of mindset and future-focussed generation ready to rumble to find those truths and realities so that no one has to suffer the way others before them did because they were kept in the dark with omissions, propaganda, and lies.

Memo to the Daily Helmsman: Your own misconceptions about the state of a dead profession proves why the dead profession of journalism is in dire need of a replacement.

Student newspapers are bland and devoid of a context of reality.


But student newspapers are interesting not just because of their hyperbole (The Daily Helmsman has the gall to label itself as “fearless journalism”, yet merely work as junior stenographers who have not even risked a broken nail to get real information, delusion in the profession begins early), but because students voice their beliefs in an open forum, and illustrate just how poorly they are being prepared for the reality of adulthood.

Take this article from the aforementioned Helmsman:

Editors’ roundtable: Modern misconceptions about journalism

The article should have been renamed Modern delusions students journalists hold about the profession they are studying, but that would require them to be fearless, which they are obviously not.

Let’s just take one of the “myths” they have in this piece:

Myth 4: Journalism is a dying industry. 

It is beyond the dying stages, kiddies. It’s dead. The profession is not recovering because they have competition from these people who you blithely dismissed:

Myth 3: Bloggers and YouTubers do the same job as journalists.

There are bloggers who have far more  experience and expertise as journalists. Dr. Jen Gunter, for instance, is a blogging doctor who debunked Toronto Star’s inaccurate exposé a few years ago, and there are others who have exposed propaganda and lies put out by the press. There are many who are on par with reporters, and those who are below, but to the public, the appeal is simple: they do not want a single entity to hold all the power of communications, and they will gladly trade off one for the other.

But do not knock those who work outside a corrupted system. I am blogging, and I have worked in the profession, and write books about the profession. To paint everyone with the same brush disproves:

Myth 1: Journalists twist everything you say.

Your own narrative and spin in the piece shows that at the very least budding journalists like to twist people’s perceptions. It is inconvenient for j-school students to contemplate the fact they made a bad choice in university major, and hence the are trying to spin perceptions to hide reality as if that would alter said reality. It doesn’t.

This is a manipulative little comfort piece. Students should question why journalism died and why the university or college who takes their money still allows a broken profession to be taught.

J-school students should be attune to the collapse of their profession. As for this knee-slapper:

Myth 5: American journalists hate the U.S. 

American journalists do not understand their own country. They malign anyone whose ideology is not lockstep with their own. They do not actually support democracy; they support democracy so long as everyone believes what they believe. Fox News dislikes the Left. CNN dislikes the Right. It is time to stop pretending the press isn’t partisan. It is, and it has become propaganda once again.

Students should take the collapse of journalism seriously. They should keep track of job losses and outlet closures. They should see the media consolidation. They should be aware of the thinning of the news product, and every blunder made.

Otherwise, they are not fit to be chroniclers of reality. The world doesn’t need another mindless and dutiful stenographer who is insensitive to truth and reality.

Because that’s how journalism died in the first place.

Delusional advertising as journalism: And the profession wonders why it imploded. Get over yourselves first.

I have had people ask me why Canadian journalism imploded first, to which I always say of all the hubris choking the profession, the worst offenders are Canadians who mistake self-congratulation with actual journalism. That humble modest trope that stereotypes Canadians is no where to be found among their journalists.

Take two examples, for instance.

This article headline says it all:

The journalism landscape is looking a lot like Mordor right now, but there are no shortage of heroes trying to save it

Heroes trying to save it. Heroes. That is a lofty assessment of oneself. And saving journalism, meaning keeping the status quo so there is no need to critically look at what the profession has been doing wrong to find themselves in this quagmire in the first place.

Fake news is not to blame.

Big Tech is not to blame.

Russia is not to blame.

Donald Trump is not to blame.

Journalists messed up their own profession because they were too busy being in love with themselves to see that they were not doing their jobs. They had fantasies fuelled by the movie All the President’s Men.

There is no consideration that their methods and techniques are antiquated. There is no drive to improve, evolve, or progress. Just do it the same way in a changing world, and then expect your fortunes to magically transform. Life does not work that way.

The profession did not need “saving”. It needed a revolution.

Now it is too late. It’s dead.

So stop writing ad copy and then pretend it is a news story.

You would think j-school students would see what is happening, and be revolutionaries — rebelling against the status quo.

Not a chance.

The Manitoban has student journalists mindlessly parroting the elders who destroyed their castle:

There are important stories in the newspaper you are reading right now.

Flip or scroll to the news, sports, or arts sections of this paper and you will find articles on peoples’ passions, triumphs, pitfalls, and tribulations.

No, it’s not. There is no experimentation. There is no innovation. It is rote mimicry of something that clearly doesn’t work.

And you have students also mistaking a news outlet as a legitimate forum of lecturing readers with ad copy how wonderful and essential they are.

There is no free will, or critical independent thought. There are no rebels or visionaries.

There are just mindless followers who keep parroting the same mantra, hoping their cheering will infect the populace who will believe them.

That’s not news. That’s narcissism.

The public now has the means to bypass you. They have been bypassing you for two decades now. Social media is no longer a new kid. It’s your conqueror.

There is no saving journalism.

There is only creating something superior to replace it.

How j-schools miss the mark. You have to tell your students the truth about the truth of journalism.

A couple of university-based student newspaper article show that j-school students are not being prepared for the reality of the present situation of a dead profession, let alone the future.

We have one article about a speech, and it is interesting that the speaker had this to say:

[T]he shift will give new power to the future journalists, though it may take some time for them to establish themselves.

“I can’t imagine there is a single model that will work. I’m sure a number of approaches will be employed to appeal to customers. The most important thing will be for reporters to go after stories that are fresh, different, relevant and interesting,” she said.

“The days of presenting yesterday’s news are over now that we are shifting to the immediacy of the digital world. I think people are slowly realizing journalism doesn’t come for free and that quality journalism is something they have to pay for.”

This is again the jilted first-wife logical fallacy: sooner or later, people will come back. There is no consideration that the profession alienated the public who had an alternative and flocked to it instead.

And the “shifting” to the Internet? That happened twenty years ago. We have an entire generation of adults who grew up with the Internet.

Yet the press still talks as if this was just happening within the last couple of years.

And people are not paying for journalism. Journalists are losing their jobs in droves. This isn’t the first time media outlets tried a pay-per-view model. What we are seeing is something else: the abandonment of journalism. You cannot have Newsweek having its own internal turmoil, a raid on its offices, and then making colossal errors in their new stories, and then think people are going to believe the press. You have a crisis that has led to an implosion, and yet you would never know it from this speech.

The second article is about a recent CJR Fear and Pity Tour entitled “Journalism under Trumpism”. The headline itself is very telling of who is going to get the label of villain. Instead of looking inward on how to reinvent a collapsed profession, it is going to be how readers should absolutely go back to journalism outlets because they will be helpless in the onslaught of Trumpism.

The speakers concede that, yes, there were declines before Trump, but they do not look too deeply at them. This panelist’s comments are interesting:

“So that goes back to how do we gain the trust and how do we fix the business model? And there isn’t an easy answer.” She, however, emphasized transparency as a possible method to win back people’s trust. “When you look at why the media has lost trust, [in North America], people think that they [the media] have hidden biases and agendas,” she said, “So if you’re upfront with your agenda then at least you’ve gotten rid of part of that lack of trust.”

There is no attempt to question one’s own perceptions of reality. There is no question on whether our own habits and confines that we take for granted harmed the profession. “Well, I am biased, deal with it,” is not journalism. It is partisan propaganda, and the profession already went through it, and then abandoned it precisely because you cannot gain trust when you do not empathize or have the emotional literacy to look at the big picture as you empirically gain facts.

When I worked as a journalist, I would map out a story. I would see who were the players and issues, and then research on similar cases. I would then research on individuals. I would then speak to experts and many of them with different perspectives. What I am looking at? A lot of times, someone would tell me things that that there was no way I could consider because I didn’t have the background to be able to do it.

For example, I wrote an article on “cyber crime” and I had the opportunity to interview a profession who used to be a police officer. His perspective was absolutely unique. So I interviewed him, and he gave me food for thought: very rarely do we call a crime based on the weapon of choice. Cyber crime is such a case, but we don’t talk about “hammer” crime. He did point out that when cars were first used as getaway vehicles, the term “autobanditry” was used.

Another expert on the same story had a unique job of analyzing technology used in such crimes, such as doctored ATM machines. Still another explained that many doctors and lawyers were victims of phishing scams, particularly if their loved one had cancer, and they were desperate. A prosecutor explained how difficult these crimes were to prosecute because you needed warrants for every country an illegal email, for instance, went through.

SoI would interview people affected by the issue I was writing about. There are multiple filters, and multiple processes. Sometimes, when it is breaking news, the process is reversed, but at no time do I impose biases on the matter because I am there to inform.

If I were to, for example, discuss how First Nations murder victims are treated in the courts, I would start looking at the two most obvious and recent cases. I’d read the court transcripts. Then I would look at other, previous cases, and see where that takes me.

Then I would look at cases that never went to trial.

I would interview experts on it, but not just legal experts or Aboriginal activists and scholars. I would make certain to find other areas where there are vulnerabilities, and see how those systems work. What are the rigs? What is the gold standard?

Then I would compare how First Nations murder victims compare to white, black, and other groups. I would compare based on gender, age, geographical location within the same group.

You start talking to lawyers. You start finding patterns. Is it outright racism? Is it an outdated system? Is it more than one variable? Is this the same old problem, is it bad, but nowhere near the past — or is this absolutely an implosion and decline of the worst sort?

My white woman-ness is not a factor if I am doing information-gathering right because you have a list of questions. You allow everyone you interview to talk for as long as they wish. I rarely guided interviews because people had a lot to tell me. I was always patient. I always asked if there was anything I missed, I asked if there were misconceptions, things people needed to know, but never seemed to, and the like.

In other words, I would basically direct my interviewees to tell me where I am stupid.

Believe me, people did tell me, albeit always very graciously. I never pretend to know more than the person I was interviewing. I never had a narrative going in. I always always surprised at the outcome once I had my data in.

I didn’t speak for other people: I let them speak for themselves. I also let the facts speak for themselves. I never had someone complain that I twisted their words and intent, and very often, interview subjects would drop me a line to thank me for letting them say what they needed to say without spin or misinterpretation.

I wasn’t a stenographer; however, but I wasn’t a propagandist, either. I presented the reality and the truth. I did not tell readers how to think. They didn’t have to agree with the interviewees — nor did they have to disagree with them, either. I hunted. I gathered. I showed what my haul was. I had respect for readers not to impose a point of view on them as I gave them many different voices and facts to ponder.

I built layers in my articles. That people have different points of view is reality, and my stories reflected on it. I wasn’t telling people how to think or who to cheer. I went looking for hard to find information. I went digging in old archives, and grumbled having to pay for court transcripts that I had to drive for miles to get. I read academic studies as I vetted experts. I gathered every article I could find on a topic to see what was already covered, and what still needed to be said.

When I wrote, I was the student. When my article was published, I was the teacher.

J-school students do not get any sort of guidance to how bad the industry has collapsed. They are in some time hole where it is still 1995.

I was a j-school student in 1995. Times have changed radically since then.

But somehow, the profession’s education has been left behind, and it has been giving students a very wrong idea of what they need to do once they graduate.

They need to understand there is no profession. A new one has to be built from scratch.

And there are in way prepared to create it..

On breaking the journalism monopoly: Confronting rot from root to leaf.

When I was teaching Write to Publish at Sheridan College circa 2004, I was still actively working as a journalist, and was now writing Don’t Believe It! and then OutFoxed within the same year.

I also contributed giving workshops to other professors. The second one was how to incorporate “pop assignments” (a form of a pop quiz, but I argued out-of-the-blue assignments that had to be done right then and there were essential), but the first was talking about a novel use for blogs — using them as a teaching aid in classrooms:


It sounds ridiculous now as it’s common practice: in 2004, it wasn’t. I was using a blog for my courses at Sheridan, and had been surprised it wasn’t common practice back then.

It was an interesting experience. Instructors were required to take a course in teaching fundamentals:


Although I was teaching how to get published in fiction and nonfiction, we were required to have a videotaped lecture in front of our colleagues, and instead of what I normally taught, I decided to do a lecture on information verification for journalists — an idea I was trying to get through with absolutely no luck (when I find the video of that lecture, I will post it on the site).

I hand my handouts, and these were it:





Those articles were all proven to be fake news.

And this was all something I had been working on for years as a journalist. I had tried to get a textbook for j-school students published for years. Here is a blind reviewer (not so blind that I could not figure out the identity) and the endorsement for the book…way back in 1999:


Yes, a ringing endorsement, but it wasn’t universal: I had others knock down my experience, even though I was writing about the journalism industry for various trades such as Presstime, and one that thought I should team-up with a “name” journalist (which would have been a disaster). This was not the publisher that would finally publish Don’t Believe It! — that would be the Disinformation Company in 2005.

But in 2004, I was actively researching how those lies became news in the first place.

When I was the first female recipient of the Arch Award in 2004 as well, I was discussing what one of my long-term goals would be — in the final paragraph:


I had researched as sorts of scams and lies over the years, however, not just in journalism:


I have had many people over the years be dumbfounded when they find out my credentials and goal, and wonder why I have been as stymied as badly as I have been. The answer is complex as it is simple: bottom line, I am Writing While Female in a patently sexist profession that is obsessed with Great Men who they see as the only ones who can be visionaries. It is also a profession rife with egotism, meaning anything resembling criticism is seen as an unforgivable sin.

It is for those two main reasons why the profession destroyed itself (not the only ones, however). No one helped them in that regard. People need to be informed, but that is not what is happening: they are being agitated as they are being told how to react. There is a big difference.

But because journalism has been the only model of informing a general public, we assume that is the only way to do it.

And it’s not.

We need to get away from the Patriarchal mode because our world is now global. Before, a local paper had the monopoly of the community’s attention; now, not only can others read what that local paper is writing, but citizens can read any outlet they wish from anywhere in the world.

We have gotten away from the model of the One.

Journalism still is entrenched in it because its core has been rotted with that stifling assumption.

And that rot has gone up all the way to the top.

If we wish to have better form of mass communications, we have to consider something other than journalism. Social media doesn’t have the empiricism or the expertise to inform in a way citizens need to navigate around. We are living in an information void where we lack facts, but are overstocked with opinion.

Journalists never experimented in their labs — the real world.

Well, almost of them.

I did.

I was a psychology student in the mid-1990s when it hit me: why not be both the experimenter and the test subject and take the lab out of the ivory tower, and into the real world.

I even had a name for this brand of experimental journalism: Method Research.

Actors use a method to get into roles — they immerse themselves; so why not an experimenter?

Why not a journalist?

I set up experiments. I had results. I had hypotheses to test. I was a journalist looking at the problems of journalism — and then finding alternative ways of doing journalism.

Experimenters in laboratories do not have the same problems: breaking news happens, you hit peculiar roadblocks, and you have to wing it as you go along. Labs are not usually war zones to researchers, but they could be for journalists.

It could be done — but not through journalism. When you have celebrity gossip and “gee, it’s really cold out” leading newscasts, that is not the place to do something of value.

Journalism is an archaic concept that no longer fits in our diverse and changing world. It is anarchy in a void and journalism collapsed because it didn’t actually understand the environment or know the difference between reality and a narrative.

We need new models. We need Matriarchal theories, as Patriarchal has reached its limits. We need explorers, and people who have both the intelligence and humility to know they are not experts in an unknown field.

New paths cannot be build any other way. Journalism worked when they could hold all the cards, but they aren’t playing with a full deck these days.

But the world cannot sit and wait for them — and has marched on without them.

But they still need to be informed — but in a better way than they were before.


Podcast 11: A Shifting Surface: How the lack of science eroded journalism.

Journalism’s death by arrogance should surprise no one, and the apathy of its demise is deafening (though you will get temper tantrums about mass apathy when it is exposed. It is not exactly adorable how dead titans are cannibalizing one another’s corpses), but how did that once mighty profession not see a shifting surface?

Because in 2018, they still do not understand the science of information gathering, even when they pretend they do.


Podcast is here.

Transcript is here.

The links to various flawed “studies” on fact-checking on Poynter can be found here.