Youtube is setting up a kind of journalism school of the internet, featuring clips in which various eminences of the Fourth Estate attempt to explain their profession in the space of five or six minutes. The project is being undertaken with the cooperation of many of America’s surviving dailies, and the “faculty” includes many names not widely known outside their particular cities except by their peers in the profession.
But some of the names that have been recruited for the project so far are known from coast to coast, and beyond: Arianna Huffington, Tavis Smiley, Katie Couric….and Pulitzer-winning Bob Woodward. Woodward’s clip is chock-full of old photos of himself, Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee striking the poses familiar to all students of the cinema of the late Alan J. Pakula). Over these images, the reporter’s voiceover describes how he got started breaking local stories, until the day he and his partner Carl came across a “metro” subject that, well, jes’ grew.
It all makes one wonder when the Youtube academy will include a clip in which Bernstein offers his sage reminiscences about the art of ordering Brandy Alexanders at just the right moment when investigating a sizzling story in mixed company, back in the days when the art of journalism involved far more than poking around with a computer.