Fmr. Press Sec: Too Many 'Woodstein Wannabes' Looking for Scandal

Romenesko links to a letter written by Kim Alan Gigstead, a former Republican press secretary.
After Woodward and Bernstein's work on Watergate, too many reporters were "Woodstein wannabes," desperate for instant success by uncovering the next big scandal

Watergate's result

Re: "Newspapers then, and now," Tanya Barrientos' March 18 column:

Watergate may have been journalism's finest hour, but what it spawned is not. Journalism of the '80s and '90s was peppered with "Woodstein wannabes." The young, hard-charging reporter could become rich and famous by either working in the trenches for 40 years or toppling a politician or businessman via gotcha journalism. As a Republican press secretary in the 1980s, I fended off more questions about sleazy girlfriends, supposed kickbacks, and alleged drug use than anything about tax reform, foreign policy or national infrastructure.

The writer comments: "People want their news fast and short. They want it to fit on the screens of their cell phones. They want to know if Angelina is going to marry Brad... ." Sorry, that's an elitist excuse. She is saying that your audience is too dumb to appreciate real journalism. The audience actually wants more depth. What we want from you is context and analysis. (Hopefully, the analysis will be labeled as such!) Like most things in life, it's hard work and a return to the basics that succeed. Journalism needs a renaissance of responsibility.

Kim Alan Gigstead