Newspapers as the jilted ex…

Oh newspaper, despite your protestations I’m not so sure I’m going to miss you. That said I’m not sure you are actually going anywhere – you may be getting a massive make over though. But then, I think a new you is exactly what you need. Everybody else seems to agree.

Of course, the TV news guys said the same thing when I broke up with them. And other than the odd fling once or twice a year, I’ve never looked back.

Plus, trolling? That’s the best you could come up with? And you really believe that only a print newspaper journalist could have snagged that story? Sigh, we really live in different universes (or at least mediums) now.

Please stop. All this  complaining just makes you less attractive.

13 thoughts on “Newspapers as the jilted ex…

  1. ncharney

    Dave – I couldn’t help but think that Kay’s comment about certain things that can only be done by traditional organizations sounds very similar to what we often see in the bureaucracy: innovation and precision sacrificed to heavy and traditional, using a shovel when what we need is a scalpel.

    I am not sure what is more disheartening, Kay’s point of view or the unwarranted self-righteousness with which he delivers it.

    Reply
  2. Brenton Walters

    Okay, look past his trashy writing and the topic and address this point:
    “there are certain kinds of important stories that simply cannot be covered, except by deep-pocketed traditional media organizations employing professional journalists.”
    His example is horrible. But can a blog send someone to Johannesburg to cover the Zuma case, or go undercover in Iran or Zimbabwe? An interesting point, perhaps not totally convincing but at least deserving of a rebuttal.

    Reply
  3. ncharney

    Dave – I couldn’t help but think that Kay’s comment about certain things that can only be done by traditional organizations sounds very similar to what we often see in the bureaucracy: innovation and precision sacrificed to heavy and traditional, using a shovel when what we need is a scalpel.I am not sure what is more disheartening, Kay’s point of view or the unwarranted self-righteousness with which he delivers it.

    Reply
  4. Brenton Walters

    Okay, look past his trashy writing and the topic and address this point:”there are certain kinds of important stories that simply cannot be covered, except by deep-pocketed traditional media organizations employing professional journalists.”His example is horrible. But can a blog send someone to Johannesburg to cover the Zuma case, or go undercover in Iran or Zimbabwe? An interesting point, perhaps not totally convincing but at least deserving of a rebuttal.

    Reply
  5. Brenton Walters

    To add to that: Citizen journalism can fill part of the role of the traditional media outlets, to be sure. In New York a video of a cop barging into a cyclist made its way onto YouTube and quickly became one of the most-viewed videos. Is this journalism? Absolutely (though a few journalism schools might disagree). And the police force was held accountable, the officer in question is currently suspended pending investigation, and so on. A great example of citizen journalism.

    Two things that limit this mode: Budget and the very nature of the internet. As above, blogs or other solely online news sites don’t (yet) have the budget to employ editors, fact-checkers and so on; in other words, they can’t account for their stories. Additionally, they rely on linking and word of…hand? for dissemination. This is changing and these sites are improving their reach as more and more people turn to “alternative” online news outlets. However, the veracity of stories is watered down as the stories make their way across blogs and through to mass emails and so on.

    I’m typing without much editing, and I recognize the holes in my criticisms, but there is something to them. Certainly newspapers are not immune to poor fact-checking or reprinting stories from other news sources. And the benefits of not having an editor may outweigh the drawbacks (pre-filtering news and such).

    The budgetary aspect may be the most significant. Will a blog ever generate enough revenue to send multiple journalists overseas? Perhaps. But will it by that time have morphed into that which it is replacing. Perhaps.

    And as a final caveat: I assumed we were comparing newspapers to blogs or other online news sources similar to blogs.

    Reply
  6. Brenton Walters

    To add to that: Citizen journalism can fill part of the role of the traditional media outlets, to be sure. In New York a video of a cop barging into a cyclist made its way onto YouTube and quickly became one of the most-viewed videos. Is this journalism? Absolutely (though a few journalism schools might disagree). And the police force was held accountable, the officer in question is currently suspended pending investigation, and so on. A great example of citizen journalism. Two things that limit this mode: Budget and the very nature of the internet. As above, blogs or other solely online news sites don’t (yet) have the budget to employ editors, fact-checkers and so on; in other words, they can’t account for their stories. Additionally, they rely on linking and word of…hand? for dissemination. This is changing and these sites are improving their reach as more and more people turn to “alternative” online news outlets. However, the veracity of stories is watered down as the stories make their way across blogs and through to mass emails and so on.I’m typing without much editing, and I recognize the holes in my criticisms, but there is something to them. Certainly newspapers are not immune to poor fact-checking or reprinting stories from other news sources. And the benefits of not having an editor may outweigh the drawbacks (pre-filtering news and such). The budgetary aspect may be the most significant. Will a blog ever generate enough revenue to send multiple journalists overseas? Perhaps. But will it by that time have morphed into that which it is replacing. Perhaps.And as a final caveat: I assumed we were comparing newspapers to blogs or other online news sources similar to blogs.

    Reply
  7. Jeremy Vernon

    The internet, writ large, employs a completely different (and more efficient) tactic to news discovery and dissemination.

    Newspapers go where the news is – they have mobile labourers, stationary capital. The internet takes the Fordian step by having stationary labourers and omnipresent (mobile) capital – if everyone is a journalist there’s always a journalist around, no matter where you are.

    To observe that blogs can’t send people misses the point – they don’t have to send people, they just contact those that are already here, or the people there begin to take part in the discussion.

    Newspapers would never be capable of the Baghdad blogger, or the continuous stream of stories from Iranian women appearing all over the net.

    Trust networks and technologically mediated communication networks are the medium of exchange – not mobile (human) agents moving about gathering and disseminating.

    The Web is Darwinian memetics and I’m glad for it.

    People who rely on credentialist authority are terrified – some teenager will be more interesting than they are and there’s little they can do to censor them.

    Reply
  8. Jeremy Vernon

    The internet, writ large, employs a completely different (and more efficient) tactic to news discovery and dissemination. Newspapers go where the news is – they have mobile labourers, stationary capital. The internet takes the Fordian step by having stationary labourers and omnipresent (mobile) capital – if everyone is a journalist there’s always a journalist around, no matter where you are.To observe that blogs can’t send people misses the point – they don’t have to send people, they just contact those that are already here, or the people there begin to take part in the discussion. Newspapers would never be capable of the Baghdad blogger, or the continuous stream of stories from Iranian women appearing all over the net. Trust networks and technologically mediated communication networks are the medium of exchange – not mobile (human) agents moving about gathering and disseminating.The Web is Darwinian memetics and I’m glad for it. People who rely on credentialist authority are terrified – some teenager will be more interesting than they are and there’s little they can do to censor them.

    Reply
  9. Brenton Walters

    Jeremy: Valid points all, especially regarding locals providing content.

    I would argue that “and more efficient” as it regards dissemination applies well, but perhaps too well in some cases. Again, it’s a matter of verification, accountability and context. Do I trust the random blogger in New York describing to me the latest bombing in Kabul with a link to a blog ostensibly written in Pakistan? Not until I see from elsewhere that their story is backed up by other information outlets. This doesn’t mean I unblinkingly trust any old story in a newspaper either, though.

    Credentialist authority? How about trained, capable and ethical. Of course I don’t think all (or very many, but I tend to really pay attention to bylines) newspaper journalists fall into the above categories. But that teenager in Malawi? He may be more interesting, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good journalist. If he is, well done, but simply because he’s writing things on a blog doesn’t make them a good news source, it just means that anyone can blog. Journalism isn’t engineering but it also isn’t ditch-digging. Not everyone is a journalist, even if they have a video camera in their hand. Skilled journalists like Stephanie Nolen at the Globe and Mail or Frances Bula (formerly of the Vancouver Sun) don’t just pop up on blogs. (I realize that some probably do, I just haven’t found them yet.)

    I read your post on this subject on your blog, and part of me agrees with you (especially regarding the original story by Kay, the ridiculousness that is Margaret Wente). But for every ten Wentes there is a Stephanie Nolen, who writes so well from the Globe’s Africa desk. Beautiful stuff at times.

    Perhaps newspapers will slowly become online platforms for more freelancing and greater volume as they shift their focus to locally-driven content and trust readers to choose what they want to read.

    Reply
  10. Brenton Walters

    Jeremy: Valid points all, especially regarding locals providing content. I would argue that “and more efficient” as it regards dissemination applies well, but perhaps too well in some cases. Again, it’s a matter of verification, accountability and context. Do I trust the random blogger in New York describing to me the latest bombing in Kabul with a link to a blog ostensibly written in Pakistan? Not until I see from elsewhere that their story is backed up by other information outlets. This doesn’t mean I unblinkingly trust any old story in a newspaper either, though. Credentialist authority? How about trained, capable and ethical. Of course I don’t think all (or very many, but I tend to really pay attention to bylines) newspaper journalists fall into the above categories. But that teenager in Malawi? He may be more interesting, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good journalist. If he is, well done, but simply because he’s writing things on a blog doesn’t make them a good news source, it just means that anyone can blog. Journalism isn’t engineering but it also isn’t ditch-digging. Not everyone is a journalist, even if they have a video camera in their hand. Skilled journalists like Stephanie Nolen at the Globe and Mail or Frances Bula (formerly of the Vancouver Sun) don’t just pop up on blogs. (I realize that some probably do, I just haven’t found them yet.)I read your post on this subject on your blog, and part of me agrees with you (especially regarding the original story by Kay, the ridiculousness that is Margaret Wente). But for every ten Wentes there is a Stephanie Nolen, who writes so well from the Globe’s Africa desk. Beautiful stuff at times. Perhaps newspapers will slowly become online platforms for more freelancing and greater volume as they shift their focus to locally-driven content and trust readers to choose what they want to read.

    Reply
  11. Brenton

    Christie Blatchford just wrote a story about all the blogging at the Olympics. Here is her perspective: “It is not true that anyone can write. It is not true that anyone can write on deadline. It is not true that anyone can do an interview. It is not true that anyone can edit themselves and sort wheat from chaff. It is not true that even great productive writers like The Globe's Jim Christie or Ms. DiManno or Mr. Farber can hit a home run every time they sit before the laptop. But the odds of them doing it are greatly increased if they haven't already filed 1,200 words to the Web, shot a video, done a podcast and blogged ferociously all day long.”http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RT

    Reply
  12. Paul Willcocks

    Entering the discussion a bit late, but I think one of the big issues raised by newspapers' reduced readership is the loss of an element that created community. When everyone read their local newspaper – even if they were scornful of it – there was a shared starting point for discussion of issues at work or over the back fence. It created the framework that encouraged people to think of themselves as a community with common interests and problems.Nothing has emerged to replace that. Most web reporting and commentaries appeal to communities of interest, not geographic communities, and often speak mostly to people who already share a perspective. The notion of community is facing challenges on a lot of fronts, and this seems to me to be a significant one that hasn't been resolved.

    Reply
  13. Paul Willcocks

    Entering the discussion a bit late, but I think one of the big issues raised by newspapers' reduced readership is the loss of an element that created community. When everyone read their local newspaper – even if they were scornful of it – there was a shared starting point for discussion of issues at work or over the back fence. It created the framework that encouraged people to think of themselves as a community with common interests and problems.Nothing has emerged to replace that. Most web reporting and commentaries appeal to communities of interest, not geographic communities, and often speak mostly to people who already share a perspective. The notion of community is facing challenges on a lot of fronts, and this seems to me to be a significant one that hasn't been resolved.

    Reply

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