Thursday, August 21, 2008

You kids get off my lawn or I'm keeping your laptop!

I don’t subscribe to the theory that blogging will mean the death of the mainstream media. I do, however, think that journalists and media outlets that don’t adapt to how the new media is changing journalism will perish and fade away, and some day the rich deposits of those old media journalists running through the ground beneath Toronto will be drilled and used to power our flying cars.

I bet Christy Blatchford alone could get your flying car all the way to Obamatown (renamed from Washington, DC in 2020). Christy writes today from the Beijing games about these young whipper-snapper reporters and their infatuation with “blogging” about the games:

The unofficial end to journalism as I know it may have come earlier this week, when my Globe and Mail sporty colleague Matt Sekeres and I were at the triathlon venue in the north end of the city, waiting for the event to start. Mr. Sekeres is a fine writer and engaging company. This isn't about him. He was merely doing what everyone - from paid professional writer to Olympian to the average guy in the stands - does now. He was committing his most idle thoughts and mundane observations if not to paper, then to its modern equivalent, a blog.

Because Christy’s idle and mundane thoughts are much more engaging in dead three format. But let’s turn serious for just a sec:
And journalism wasn't meant to be a conversation, anyway. It was maybe a monologue, at its most democratic a carefully constructed dialogue. If readers didn't like or agree with the monologues in paper A, they bought paper B. What was most important about their opinions was that they thought enough to spend the coin.

Or, we the journalist don’t care what you the readers think. You can’t do what we do. We’re right, you’re wrong, and if you don’t like it suck a lemon. And people wonder why people don’t like journalists.

I can assure you, however, that her thoughts aren’t reflective of where the field of journalism is going, they’re just the thoughts of an older generation ill-adapted to change. Under the influence of things such as blogging and Web 2.0, journalism is becoming more immediate. That’s not a new trend, journalism has been becoming more immediate for a hundreds of years, from periodicals to the news weekly to the daily newspaper to radio to television to the Web. And it’s becoming more visual. Again, not a new trend. Most importantly though, journalism is becoming more interactive. The Internet allows instantaneous feedback, and blogging allows the readership to hold the media responsible and accountable for what they produce to a degree they never have been before.

All this is for the better. It will mean better journalism, and better journalists. Blogging won’t kill journalism, the citizen blogger can’t hope to replicate the resources and the professional standards, or the (don’t laugh) commitment to ethics and impartiality of the main stream media.

And by taking the best of what the blog world has to offer and morphing it with journalistic practices, far from dying, journalism only becomes stronger.

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Skinny Dipper said...

I'll agree that blogging will not replace the mainstream media. I do think that journalists will need to become more interactive with their readers/viewers. Reporters will need to publish their facts quicker than before. Like the 24 hour news channels, online journalism means that their will be multiple deadlines during the day.

Journalists will need to become documentary essay writers by explaining in detail the facts and why they fit with each other. They will need to provide analysis of different events. It won't be enough to say that the Republic of Georgia attacked South Ossetia; therefore Russia attacked Georgia. They will need to explain the historical "whys" to this an other events.

Journalists will need to become familiar with the different kinds of media. No longer will they be slotted as newspaper journalists, TV journalists, and radio journalists. They will become multimedia journalists that includes the internet.

A BCer in Toronto said...

You're right on the reporting for multiple mediums trend. It's happening already. Speaking as a journalist myself, I'm all for learning new skillsets. The fear is that we're going to be asked to do the job of four or five (print, online, podast, video) without any more salary or time. And the fear is also that that could mean smaller newsrooms, and layoffs. Hopefully it can be balanced.