Saturday, June 30, 2007

Professionals criticizing amateurs for criticizing professionals

In lieu of anything generated from my own tired synapses and fingertips, today I direct you to some interesting reading elsewhere; namely, a recent column in Wired on the "are bloggers really journalists" topic. In the column by Tony Long there is a reference to a new book:

The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture bemoans the rise of amateurism in all spheres of professional life, specifically as facilitated by the internet's long reach.
Nice to see somebody standing up for the craft of journalism. I don't know too many people (who ought to know the difference, meaning they have worked as a journalist) who think the average blogger is a journalist. Long makes a nice contrast between between being a reporter and being an eyewitness. Just because you can get yourself on the floor of a convention, or act like paparazzi, doesn't mean you can also tell the story in any meaningful way.

On the other hand, the Wired column generated this response on a list serv that I subscribe to.

A personal and OT rant about the journalists-vs-bloggers debate...

As a former journalist, I tend to side with the bloggers in terms of amateur vs professional journalism. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine would be considered amateurs in today's journalism world.

What passes for 'professional journalism' today largely involves highly-paid old white people reporting what they've overheard at cocktail parties hosted by other highly-paid old white people. Given a choice between reporting truth or reporting what will get them invited to more cocktail parties, the choice they've made is obvious - especially since 2000.

There was a time when news organizations employed dozens or hundreds of correspondents in all world capitals and hot spots. Today, even major events are covered by a relative handful of wire service and press pool correspondents. Poorly-backgrounded 'celebrity' reporters and local TV personalities are flown in to do ominous-sounding but fatuous standups when the story heats up.

Bloggers simply filled a vacuum left by the content-deprived, melodramatic Paris Hilton-centric coverage offered by the so-called 'professionals.'
And to round this out, there is a spirited disassembly of Keen's thesis over on Lawrence Lessig's blog.

Not exactly your light summer reading for the beach.

1 comment:

Scott said...

It's much more fun to read the list serv response in a Dennis Miller voice.