Who the hell is Don Rose?

Other than apparently being the most benighted columnist at the Chicago Tribune, I have zero idea. The city’s flagship publication cites him as a “Chicago-based media consultant,” which is just a nice way of saying he’s mediocre at his job. 

I would just call him a Chicago-based moron.

In Rose’s article, if you would even call it that, he defends Dennis Nichols (Chicago’s cell phone jammer). 

In fact, he goes as far as calling the infamous 63-year-old his “hero.” That is not a typo. Chicago’s biggest newspaper published an opinion on cell phones….and the guy self-admittedly doesn’t even OWN a cell phone.

It turns out that Nicholl, who shares my intolerance for travel babble, took things into his own hands and used an illegal device — described as a black box with several antennas — to jam the cellphone connections on his train car, causing them to instantly drop calls.

Disclosure: I do not own a smartphone or any other cellphone. In a New York Review of Books article, Jacob Weisberg explained that folks who don’t have a cellphone these days are either eccentric, aged or socially marginalized.

This past Tuesday, Dennis Nichols had his felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor. Tandra Simonton, the spokeswoman for Cook County State Offices, could not comment on why the sentence was reduced. The problems with these developments could write another story in itself.

This is the world we live in. One with idiots, who get published in award-winning newspapers. And one where somebody that should be considered a “threat to national security” is instead slapped with a misdemeanor. 

Without unfiltered sources like VICE, Gawker Media, and even Barstool Sports – the diagnosis for this world we live in would be “fucked.”

It’s our profession to challenge naivety, and despite our best efforts, we fell victim to naivety.

Prior to Chas Goudie finding a Reddit thread confirming others were having issues with this same guy, we weren’t even going to post a word about his anecdotes. But after combing through hundreds of responses to the thread, including one commuter that commented while sitting next to the self-vigilante, it was evident that something needed to be said about Dennis Nichols.

At the time, nobody at THESIXTHIRTY.com anticipated the swelling that would occur months later.

There was very little attention to this story until Dennis Nichols was arrested. After his arrest, the amount of interview and photo requests from major networks was almost overwhelming.

Hell, most of them just wanted our photos. But as we explained religiously, these photos were posted anonymously on Reddit and peopleoftheCTA.org.

According to people I spoke to at several major networks, even if they wanted to use media with an anonymous source – their lawyers would never let them.

In a very vague nutshell, Reddit does not allow the one thing that every other media outlet requires: copyrighted material. According to an editorial posted on TorrentFreak, this will significantly blur the definition of “copyrighted content” – or internal legalities in general. 

The Reddit “no copyrighted content rule” doesn’t actually mean that users can’t link to copyrighted content, it just means that in some circumstances linking to copyrighted content is disallowed. And herein lies the problem.

Each instance of linking to copyrighted content, whether that’s an image, piece of audio or video, is open to debate whether such linking is allowed under the law. This will make it not only incredibly time-consuming for moderators to enforce this “no copyrighted content” rule but in some cases almost impossible.

When an individual posts something on Reddit, their intention is to be heard. Simple as that.

They’re not looking for money. They’re not looking for a photo credit. And they’re not looking for your dumbass intern to call their brother-in-law’s cell phone on a Sunday afternoon – only for you to blame it on their “research team.”

People go to Reddit because they want to get the word out.

cell-phone-jammer

This photo was posted on Reddit by someone named ‘DontTellTheBoss.’

Journalism is a passion, not a faceless opinion. Journalism is a place where punchlines are always a typo away from a prosecution. Journalism might sell in Hollywood, but it’s by no means glamorous.

And nowadays, journalism is a place where people own cell phones.