I had a quick back and forth with Stephen Hackett about an article that CNN’s Fortune website posted today. I sat here stewing about it for a good couple of hours. At first I decided not to post anything, but now I’ve decided that I’ve got something to say, and I think it should be said, so bear with me for a minute.
Doron Levin at CNN’s Fortune blog absolutely disgusts me.
In a world where getting the story ‘half-right’ first means your site gets a bazillion eyeballs flocking to it, there’s still no excuse for writing the story that he did, quoting sources that have since passed on.
If you haven’t read the article yet, let me sum it up for you here, so you don’t have to pay them with a click to read it. Doron Levin apparently had a conversation with Jerry York, a former Apple director, about the “neuroendocrine cancer” that Jobs was allegedly fighting back when Jobs took his second leave of absence. According to Levin, York also told him that Jobs flew the coop to Switzerland to undergo treatment for the disease.
The story isn’t the problem here. If Jobs went to Switzerland for treatment, it’s news, and it would eventually get reported on as journalists continued to drudge up sources for this story. What is the problem here is that Levin sat on this news until today. Then, he lifts his “off-the-record agreement” with his primary source because he died.
That’s pretty convenient. Wait until your source dies, and then throw them under the bus for page views. A lot of things sicken me in this industry, but what Doron Levin just did is probably the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed.
Apparently, to Doron Levin, off the record now means “until you’re dead and it benefits me.”
If you’re considered a “source” by anyone in this industry, just keep this in mind: what you say is private and held in confidence until it’s in a journalist’s best interest to sell you out.
Normally a real man would have the balls to do it while a source has the ability to defend himself, but that’s not exactly the case this time, is it? Instead, Levin waited until he died. That, my friends, is the definition of disgusting in my book.
Article Via Fortune (Link to Levin’s Article)