Sure, Let's Try It: The New Public Intellectual
It has been busy times around here, so I overlooked mentioning the consulting company that Rachel launched last week with Dan Abrams. The NYT story explained it pretty well: "The firm, Abrams Research, may resemble a narrowly focused version of 'expert network' firms that connect investors to industry experts. Journalists and bloggers retained and paid by the firm could consult with corporations, conduct media training sessions, or conduct investigative reporting for corporate clients." You might have seen Gawker pounce on this with calls to ethics (gotta love when they do that!), but this only served to prove what a limited sense of self-awareness some people in the profession have of themselves. Seriously, I work with all kinds of different clients, and it takes only a modest amount of common sense judgment to know where you draw lines. I sense that ethics was held up as a straw man to keep others in the profession in their place. If self-proclaimed journalists really want to survive, they'll need to start thinking of themselves in a sphere that includes researcher, pundit, entrepreneur, speaker, performer -- actually not too different from the whole "public intellectual" thing espoused in the '90s. As Felix pointed out today, it turns out that a lot of them already get it.