Thursday, April 05, 2007

Doesn't Amanda Congdon Get It?

(image via brooklynkitchen)

Amanda Congdon's latest, rambling, self-indulgent defense of herself is ... a little disturbing (not pictured above).

We're just not that into Amanda Congdon anymore. Who would have thought that DuPont chemicals might cool our passing ardor for Ms. Congdon so completely, but it has. That, and the lame way in which she handled such an ethically obvious dilemma. In retrospect, it was probably a bad career move for Amanda Congdon to go the Journalism 2.0 route rather than, say, the Entertainment career route on SNL, or one of those web sitcoms that everyubody -- even Dick Wolf -- wants to produce.

Valleywag posts some rather harsh reaction to her "rebuttal." From the

"Amanda Congdon isn't a journalist. But she plays one on TV. Or rather, she portrays one on ABC's vlog. Congdon is a video blog correspondent -- a vlogger -- and is equally recognized by bloggers for her role as the former face of Andrew Baron's overrated comedy news vlog Rocketboom as for her messy (and vocal) departure from Baron's vlog. Congdon entered the vlogosphere answering Baron's Craigslist ad and later split from the enterprise to move into mainstream media with a highly publicized ABC video blog deal and a late-2006 HBO signing. In Congdon's high-profile (at least, online) ABC vlogging gig, her show repurposes online trends, memes and newsbits, which Congdon presents in a behind-the-desk, newscaster format.

"Recently, Congdon made a series of online infomercials for the DuPont chemical company. ... But after blogs criticized her star turns in the 'viral' DuPont spots, she has put considerable emphasis on her entitlements as a blogger. Because the DuPont video blog style -- 'science reporting'-themed online infomercials -- called into question her credibility as an ABC video-blogger-journalist and raised questions about ABC, Condgon defends her participation on her blog with: 'I am not subject to the 'rules' traditional journalists have to follow. Isn't that what new media is all about? Breaking the rules? Setting our own?'"

No dice. Amanda was hired at ABC News as a commentator/ interviewer, or what once passed for one, if not a respectable journalist precisely. In fact, Congdon is the one who gave everyone that impression when she described her job with ABC at the outset as "acts of journalism." When DuPont came along -- and they didn't come along when she was on Rocketboom, only when she was an ABC News employee -- then Ms. Congdon started softening her stance on those "acts of journalism." But you can't have it both ways, Amanda Congdon, when the circumstances shift.

The viewers have a right to expect "objectivity" -- the big O -- in Amanda Congdon's work, and, secondary to that, viewers should be secure in the knowledge that Amanda is appearing in pieces that she feels are of interest to her viewers and not pitching the corporate line of -- let's face it -- the advertiser. Frankly, we are kind of mystified that ABC News saw nothing wrong with it in the first place. Then again, we are all kind of re-orienting our ethics clocks trying to grasp this thorny 2.0 world; and Amanda, a veritable Digital Superstar, seemed to have so clearly grasped "It (cue the harps);" still ABC is rightly taking their hits -- and rightly so -- to their brand in the blogosphere for the lax handling of The Ethics Question. That's why it seemed like she would be a better hit in The Entertainment World, where she could be paid for product placement like any other entertainer, rather than diminish the prestige of Reporting, which serves a purpose higher than the amusement of the populace.

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