Thursday 26 June 2008

Greenslade on journalism and blogs

I had a drink with a journalist the other day who was fairly frank about blogs: 'I just don't care', he said.

I'm amazed we're still at this stage. But not surprised. Here's Roy Greenslade in an introduction to an interesting post he wrote yesterday about the importance of the 'blogging revolution':
"The debate over blogging's usefulness to journalism tends to get stuck in a cul de sac, mainly because too few people - well, too few journalists - treat it seriously. At conferences I've attended recently, speakers have referred to blogging as little more than a sad ego trip. It is not regarded as having any real public service value."

And he concludes that blogging should teach journalists that they are not in a different class from bloggers, or the citizens who some claim to serve:

"When we journalists talk about integration we generally mean, integrating print and online activities. But the true integration comes online itself. The integration between journalists and citizens. Of course, there should be no distinction between them. But journalists still wish to see themselves as a class apart. We have to open ourselves up to a new thought process. There is no us and them".

Just over six years ago, and yes I do mean 'years' and not 'months', Scott Rosenberg wrote this for
"Typically, the debate about blogs today is framed as a duel to the death between old and new journalism. Many bloggers see themselves as a Web-borne vanguard, striking blows for truth-telling authenticity against the media-monopoly empire. Many newsroom journalists see bloggers as wannabe amateurs badly in need of some skills and some editors.

This debate is stupidly reductive -- an inevitable byproduct of (I'll don my blogger-sympathizer hat here) the traditional media's insistent habit of framing all change in terms of a "who wins and who loses?" calculus."
More than three years ago Jay Rosen had already worked out that:
"Bloggers vs. journalists is over. I don’t think anyone will mourn its passing. There were plenty who hated the debate in the first place, and openly ridiculed its pretensions and terms. But events are what did the thing in at the end. In the final weeks of its run, we were getting bulletins from journalists like this one from John Schwartz of the New York Times, Dec. 28: “For vivid reporting from the enormous zone of tsunami disaster, it was hard to beat the blogs.”"
Journalism in the UK is still years behind where it should be; it needs to catch up and quickly.


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