Correlation vs. Causation, Media Stereotype Division

I find Newscastic‘s premise unbelievable, though how they get to it is amusing:

You can recognize a hipster 15 blocks away. The outdated clothes, the ironic mode of transportation, the outdated technology.

But all that also describes most journalists. In fact, journalists are the original hipsters.

We interrupt this blog to bring you this definition of “hipster” from the Urban Dictionary:

Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20s and 30s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. … Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind, it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. Such styles are often associated with the work of creative stylists at urban salons, and are usually too “edgy” for the culturally-sheltered mainstream consumer. The “effortless cool” urban bohemian look of a hipster is exemplified in Urban Outfitters and American Apparel ads which cater towards the hipster demographic. Despite misconceptions based on their aesthetic tastes, hipsters tend to be well educated and often have liberal arts degrees, or degrees in maths and sciences, which also require certain creative analytical thinking abilities.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog:

Journalists have been wearing thick-rimmed glasses since the ’50s.

Hipsters’ use of outdated technology can’t even compare to journalists’ use of outdated technology.

Look around, journalists still use rolodexes, landlines, and even phonebooks! …

Hipsters pride themselves on not being impressed. Journalist get paid to do that.

Hipsters use film cameras because they think it makes them look retro. Journalists use film cameras because they don’t trust digital.

Like Hipsters, Journalists want to travel abroad. But instead of a European vacation, journalists become war correspondents.
Hipsters ride bikes because it’s green. Journalists ride bikes because they can’t afford gas. …

Like Hipsters, Journalists have an affinity for typewriters.

If there’s a bearded man taking notes at a public meeting it could be a Hipster or a Journalist.

Journalists read news you haven’t even heard about yet.

That’s because journalists know more than you do.

However: I find the comparison bogus, though amusing. (More “progressive politics” is exactly what the media does not need, as Recallarama and its petitions taught us.) Most of these descriptions could include anyone who makes insufficient money in his or her line of work to afford such things as modern-styled glasses and regular haircuts. (Back in my daily newspaper days a fellow reporter had more beard than I’ve ever had, and I’ve had facial hair for more than 20 years. He’s now a lawyer, and quite establishment-looking. He’s probably quit smoking too.) On the other hand, anyone who does his own laundry would be an idiot to wear a suit and tie to, for instance, an antique tractor show in the middle of a cornfield. (Last week.)

As for film vs. digital: No one I know in this line of work distrusts digital. Try to get film of any kind developed somewhere, let alone Kodachrome slide film, formerly the gold standard for color print photography. (Photographers are the only people who still know how to develop color film.) The idea of journalists’ fearing modern technology is ridiculous. It’s just that you can’t really lay out a page of a print publication on a tablet. (Whether or not a journalist can afford the latest iteration of tech without having his or her employer supply it is another subject, although print-quality photos can be shot on any cellphone that can shoot to at least 200 dots per inch. An iPod can shoot YouTube-quality video.)

When I first read this, I thought Newscastic was trying to argue that journalists are hip, as in cool. If that’s their argument, they’re ridiculously, totally wrong. Journalists are not cool, have never been cool, and will never be cool. (And will never be accurately portrayed as cool either.) Politicians look at journalists as something foul they’ve stepped in on the bottom of their shoes. (Journalists should reciprocate, though too many don’t.) Journalists are friendless outsiders, cynical about everyone and everything, or they should be. Journalists who want friends should get cats. (Journalists work too much and are therefore away from the shacks they live in too often to get dogs.)

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