‘Should Redddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of Smear?’ is an informative article on the origins/history of Reddit, as well as a caveat regarding Reddit’s exponentially growing power. Written by Jay Caspian Kang, the article appeared on July 31st 2013 in the Sunday edition of The New York Times under the caption “Crowd Sourcing a Smear.” The article provides a balanced and trustworthy reflection of Reddit. However, readers should still be cautious of how the emerging dichotomy in traditional news and 24-hour news of assertion is represented by The New York times- a more traditional news medium.
Kang, the author of the article, has an experienced background that adds value to the dilemma being addressed. He grew up in Boston and Chapel Hill before graduating from Bowdin College (2). From there he attended Columbia University (4), where he received a Masters of Fine Arts Degree. Kang is an embellished writer that has received the 2003 Sinkinson Prize for Best Short Story, founded ritalin magazine (3), and gained valuable experience by writing for Wired, The Morning News, Deadspin, The Awl, and The Antlantic.com (3). Currently, he works as an editor for Gratland. Kang’s high involvement also indicates that he is not a new writer worried about building his résumé, rather he is at the point in his career where he can take risks and really channel his inner opinions. Additionally, because the article was written in July, over 3 months after the bombings, there really wasn’t any time constraint or pressure. This further reinforces the goal of the article being to provide a new and balanced perspective on Reddit’s increasing power and role in the aftermath of the bombings.
While Kang’s experience verifies his article, his position as a journalist possibly ads a bias to the tone of his argument. In the past, traditional news consisted of journalism of verification. This type of journalism was primarily concerned with reporting accurate and unbiased facts. However, with the emergence of the 24-hour news cycle, traditional news is becoming increasingly uprooted. The new 24-hour news cycle pressures journalists and even citizens to announce news, even before fact checking. The misidentification of Sunil Tripathi was a direct consequence of societies willingness to accept unchecked facts and pressure for quick information. As a business being largely replaced, it is difficult for a traditional journalist to essentially report on journalism of assertion. Although this bias is most likely unconsciously present, Kang does a good job highlighting the benefits of Reddit’s role in news these days as well. He points out the significant role that Reddit played in the Colorado theatre massacre, where Redditers were some of the first people to provide coverage, even offering correct and specific statistics regarding injuries/fatalities.
Kang’s article has even been evaluated by other redditers in the form of comments and questionaires on Reddit. This provides some indication of how accepted Kang’s claims are. Opinions seemed to be mixed. One Redditer commented, “You wrote a great piece, Jay.” However, others were more defensive. Alex Angel said, “I just don’t understand why the blame was put on us and not on the outlets that did shoddy reporting”(1). These contradictory opinions are natural as people come to terms rapidly changing role of Reddit.
In brief, although there appears to be a conflict of interest, the article provided an accurate and balanced perspective of Reddit that should be trusted by readers.
1. Reddit. http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1j3q0b/i_am_jay_caspian_kang_author_of_the_recent_nyt/ (accessed 11/30/13)
2. Huffington Post, The Book We're Talking About: 'The Dead Do Not Improve' By Jay Caspian Kang, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/dead-do-not-improve_n_1747545.html
3. Y. Peter Kang, August Issue: Jay Caspian Kang Explores Korean American Male Anger in New Novel, KoreAm Journal, http://iamkoream.com/august-issue-jay-caspian-kang-explores-korean-american-male-anger-in-new-novel/
4. Bowdoin Orient, http://orient.bowdoin.edu/orient/archives/2003-02-28/news02.html
5. The Morning News, Losing in Vegas: Jay Caspian Kang's "literary moment", http://www.niemanstoryboard.org/2010/11/11/jason-kang-morning-news-the-high-literary-moment-gambling-addiction/