Who was the big media star of the weekend? The Huffington Post’s citizen journalist extraordinaire Mayhill Fowler, of course! After her rope line “interview” with Bill Clinton made headlines, Ms. Fowler has found herself at the center of a journalistic ethics-new-new-new media kerfuffle.
Here’s a snapshot of Ms. Fowler’s big weekend (as compiled with the help of the redoubtable Jim Romenesko):
Saturday: The Los Angeles Times‘ James Rainey profiled Ms. Fowler calling her a “61-year-old self-described ‘failed writer’ and amateur Web journalist helped create two of the most unexpected moments in the 2008 election.” (Media Mob previously noted this piece here.)
Sunday: The New York Times‘ Jacques Steinberg wrote an “Ideas and Trends” column for the Week in Review in which he quotes Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter say Ms. Fowler’s antics “makes it very difficult for the rest of us to do our jobs… If you don’t have trust, you don’t get good stories. If someone comes along and uses deception to shatter that trust, she has hurt the very cause of a free flow of public information that she claims she wants to assist.” Mr. Steinberg also quotes producer-turned-blogger Jan Hamsher saying, “It’s hurting America that journalists consider their first loyalty to be to their subjects, and not to the people they’re reporting for.” (Old Media vs. New, round 400: This time it’s personal!)
The Independent calls Ms. Fowler “a poster girl for this new era of political journalism” and notes her “soft, musing style that has won her numerous followers… she blurred a line that many in traditional US journalism have been ferociously trying to hold, against all the odds – namely the line between objective reporter and a partisan.”
Today: The Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz weighs in with his column: “Fowler is part of a new breed — citizen journalist, liberal advocate, agent provocateur.”
Tomorrow: Book deal? Daily Show with Jon Stewart interview? MSNBC show? Tune in and see.