This column appeared March 6, 2000, in the Online Journalism Review. Here’s the version on the OJR site.
By J.D. Lasica
Slate raised a ruckus early in the primary season by publishing the results of exit polls in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan hours before the ballot boxes closed.
When Slate stopped the practice last week under threat of legal action, the National Review stepped into the breach, publishing exit poll data from Virginia while voters were still casting ballots. They plan to do the same during tomorrow’s Super Tuesday primaries in New York, Ohio and California. So does Matt Drudge.
Good for them.
Once again we have a culture clash between old and new media, with both sides talking past each other and the lawyers now getting into the act. It’s as if the traditions of both mediums have become so entrenched that neither party can understand the needs or prerogatives of the other.
What this really comes down to — and what nobody has said so far — is that online journalism and broadcast journalism serve different masters and are, at bottom, two very different mediums. (More about that in a moment.) While I’ve worked extensively in both old and new media, my sympathies in this case rest with the Net crowd. Let me tell you how I got here.