Over at the Daily Download, Howard Kurtz calls the Washington Post’s (apparent) decision to dump their ombudsman an “awful idea.”
Kurtz (whom I like) makes a compelling case for why an ombudsman is valuable to a newspaper — but most of his arguments would be equally applicable to a news website like, say, Kurtz’s other outlet, The Daily Beast.
This raises an obvious question: If an ombudsman is so valuable to the credibility of a news operation — why not hire him at the Beast?
Of course, the answer is the bottom line. New media outlets survive and thrive by being lean and mean. An ombudsman would be seen as an inefficient luxury by most new media outlets today.
And this is why I think we’re being unfair to the Post. On one hand, we criticize these legacy organizations for failing to adapt to a changing media paradigm, but the minute they shed some overhead, new media outlets are the first to cry foul.
It’s almost as ironic as conservatives bloggers complaining that CPAC won’t give them free Wi-Fi.
A tad hypocritical, too.