The Firing Of Chez Pazienza

20 02 2008

I’m sure most of you have heard about the curious case of former CNN producer Chez Pazienza. He had a blog, he was critical on his blog and CNN canned him last week.

CNN fired me, and did it without even a thought to the power that I might wield as an average person with a brain, a computer, and an audience. The mainstream media doesn’t believe that new media can embarrass them, hurt them or generally hold them accountable in any way, and they’ve never been more wrong.

I was going to write about this yesterday but I had to think about it. There is a lot of bravado in Pazienza’s post at his blog Deus Ex Malcontent about his dismissal as well at the Huffington Post where he also posts, but there is also a conversation to be had about all of this. In effect, Pazienza’s has been dooced. On the other hand, I had never really heard of these guy until he was canned.

The one thing he has done has effectively given a look behind the mindset of traditional, large-scale media. The post he wrote Monday is pretty long, but this stood out for me.

I say this with the knowledge of implied complicity: I continued to draw a salary from stations at the local level and national networks long after I had noticed an unsettling trend in which real news was being regularly abandoned in favor of, well, crap. I may not have drank the Kool-aid, but I did take the money. I may have been uncomfortable with a lot of what I was putting on the air, but I was comfortable in the life that it provided me. I just figured, screw it, most people don’t like their jobs; shut up and do what you’re told, or at least try to. Besides, I told myself, what the hell else do you know how to do?

That’s pretty candid.

Pazienza has done two things. First of all, he is spotlighting the impact that blogs are having on the big boys. The other thing that he has done has given a little light on what goes behind the scenes of a cable news network and how news is changing.

Pazienza will be fine and probably will have a new job pretty quickly.

At a recent event I attended with other journalists, the issue of blogging was discussed more than ever. We live in a time where anyone can have an online platform where they can discuss whatever they want. From knitting blogs to right-or-left politics, the enormity of the blogging world is changing the rules. All of us know that.

Because things are changing.

And with that change comes growing pains because the rules have been collectively thrown out the window. The debate will continue, but it’s not going to stop this moving locomotive of a new information age that includes traditional media and Joe Citizen.

Joe Citizen’s voice usually trumps media.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, campers. We will see what happens next.




9 responses

20 02 2008
Jeffraham Prestonian

And no mention of Josh Marshall’s Polk Award…?!


20 02 2008

I think that Josh Marshall did great. Unfortunately, I was away from the tubes for a big portion of yesterday and …
I sorta forgot.

I know, I’m a bad liberal. 😉

20 02 2008
Jeffraham Prestonian

Well, if nothing else, it should prove that while a large number of us only put up cat pixels and talk about our belly button lint, the talking heads are wrong to sweep all bloggers under the rug with the bathwater. Josh, Jane Hamsher, Marcy Wheeler, Christy Hardin Smith, Digby, Glenn Greenwald — they’re providing actual reporting *and* expert analysis, in most cases.

20 02 2008

That reminds me, I need to clean out my belly button. 🙂

20 02 2008

My belly button is groovy clean.
Or is it?

21 02 2008
Richard Thompson

NC: Hope all is well. There is a fine line for those in journalism–the paid realm of it. What Chez’s situation (much of it self-inflicted) reveals is how restrictive the life of professional journalists really is and, I guess, ultimately must be even if one should disagree with the corporate acts because at the end of the day it’s a business with the propensity for nobleness, not an outright cause in the daydreams stirred by movies and whatnot. In my opinion, blogging–the pure freedom of self expression–causes journalists to rethink where they are and what they have sacrificed. They recognize that dealing with editors, corporate policy and lawyers really isn’t freedom of the press at all. It is a job, not the mission instilled in J-School. You get paid to follow someone else’s rules. That’s reality. I think you are fortunate. You can blog and be beholden to traditional journalism. You are management. You’re not about to criticize yourself or your own product. And you can be critical of the profession without real worry of someone in-house being critical of you.

21 02 2008

Fair assessment. I will say that many times when I’m talking about the overall state of journalism, I include myself in that as well.
For me, it’s more about the changes occurring in traditional media and how we all are having to adopt new realities (such as blogs/new media/online news platforms) that range from small-town newspapers to international entities.
You make several good points, Richard, and thanks so much for commenting.
I am fortunate and I am grateful.
As for my employees being critical, they tend to do that to my face which is good because it keeps communication open. I will say that I do encourage them to blog as well and I don’t put any restrictions on them.
Also, it’s fun to write about other things like Bigfoot. 😉
Hope all is well with you as well.

24 02 2008
Everybody Dance Now … « Newscoma

[…] • NewsComa: It’s not about the sex, it’s about the political favors. Plus, blogs are changing the rules. […]

5 08 2008
Old Vs. New Media Practices « Newscoma

[…] Basically, employees of the network cannot use Facebook, Twitter, Blog or even comment in forums and chat rooms without permission from the CNN higher ups according to Chez Pazienza, who was famously fired from CNN for blogging at Deus Ex Malcontent. His story is here. […]

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