The Bloatosphere Has Lots of Room for Real Reporting

Journalists Marc Glaser and William Bastone discuss Barstone’s site, The Smoking Gun and topics related, on NPR’s MediaShift site.
The Smoking Gun started 11 years ago as a side project for Village Voice organized-crime reporter William Bastone. It has since been sold to Time Warner, but its core mission and staff size hasn’t changed; it’s still three folks running the show, hunting down incriminating documents and digging up dirt.
One of the reasons I’m pointing to this interview is Bastone’s call for original reporting.

There are a lot of people commenting on stuff and riffing on things and blogging, but actually reporters breaking stories on the Net — there are a lot fewer than I would expect.
I get a kick out of the Gawkers and Defamers of the world, but how much of that is a news story, they broke a news story. It really isn’t. It’s a high profile site, but can you identify a story that they broke? If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have thought there would be a huge scrum for [breaking news online], and it may get to that point, but I don’t really see it.

This is something I think about regularly. I’d love to move to an original reporting format on AdPulp. The thing that prevents it (for now), is the fact that I already have an all consuming day job.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. fortyver says:

    As far as I know, the original sale was to Court TV, which is now owned by TruTV out of the UK. My wife is friends with Bill’s wife, who designed the original Smoking Gun book.

  2. Given what Gawker pays (or doesn’t pay) its reporters, I can’t see how any of them will ever break a story. I mean they lose money just going to the bathroom.
    I fear that one of the victims of the news publishing industry’s fallout will be reporting itself. I mean you need to pay people to do that kind of thing.
    Commenting on the news? That’s a luxury guys like us with full time jobs have. But actually breaking a story requires a much deeper level of involvement. (Among other skills.)

  3. @Toad – That “deeper level of involvement” required of journalists sounds appealing to me. “Commenting on the news” has a shorter shelf life, both as a personal endeavor and as a media product.