Jul 16, 2008

Note to “old media” journalists: adapt, or stfu!

What makes a proper journalist a proper journalist, wonders Stilgherrian?

What is the future of journalism? To judge by the discussion at this week’s Future of Media Summit held simultaneously in Sydney and Silicon Valley (and every other “new media” conference I’ve been to lately) it’s endless bl--dy whinging. Whinging about how journalism has standards and bloggers are all “just” writing whatever they think.

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10 thoughts on “Note to “old media” journalists: adapt, or stfu!

  1. Stilgherrian

    While most comments here (so far) nibble around the edges, only one tackles the core issue: Why are journalists so defensive, and why are THEY not coming up with the new forms of reportage? Amy Gahran’s article “Journalism: A Toxic Culture? (Or: Why Aren’t We Having More Fun?)” is a good read re this. I particularly like her comment that journalists have “Priesthood Syndrome”. Indeed, I think her comments about “toxic culture” help explain why this journalist vs the rest argument has gotten so heated at EVERY conference I’ve been to lately.

    BTW, I am not a journalist. Never have been and have never claimed to be. However I have worked in “the media” in various ways, more often than not with “producer” written on my card.

  2. MediaMook

    Excellent article, Stilgherrian. News (that someone somewhere doesn’t want you to know) is still news no matter where it is first reported, isn’t it? It’s interesting that the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade has realised there’s some merits in blogging. Read his views at:

  3. Stilgherrian

    As an aside, there’s quite a few more comments over at … Enjoy!

  4. Samela Harris

    Perchance, some bloggers are suffering printers’ envy?

  5. Connor Moran

    Davo: I propose that there be a cull of every tenth blogger to (partially) reduce the noise on the internet.

  6. Connor Moran

    Stilgherrian doesn’t understand what journalism should be. I recommend he and anyone interested in the subject have a read of Flat Earth News by Nick Davies.

    Bloggers provide poor ratios of dribble/crap you have to read through to get to anything worthy of your time to read it. The content of their “love to hear my own voice” material is tedious and very very very rarely of any importance. What they write doesn’t matter, it isn’t important. Anti-“matter” if you will.

    As another poster nearly said “Journalism is something that someone, somewhere, doesn’t want published. Everything else is advertising.”

    In the new media world for Lord Northcliffe’s quote, you could replace “advertising” with “blogging”.

  7. davo

    A good journalist should know the correct usage of ‘decimate’.

  8. Nicholas Pickard

    As a journalist and a blogger, I don’t quite see why the two have to be mutually exclusive. There are a lot of us in both camps with a trustworthy reputation and followers to boot.

  9. Steve Carey

    Journalists are generally grumpy, cynical and suspicious – news is what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to know, and finding it out while coping with insufficient resources would make almost anyone grumpy and suspicious. And if you worked for the Dirty Digger, Kerry Packer or Robert Maxwell do you think YOU’D be a bundle of joy? They inhabit a world of bad news, so they don’t easily see the upside in things like web 2.0 or blogs. Their grumpiness, cynicism and suspicion serve a useful social function, so don’t be too hard on them. But it’s not the whole story, either. People really ARE relating to each other in new and interesting ways, and Blind Freddy could see that the old media models (free TV, print newspapers) are irreversibly broken. And after all, there was a time before they were around – TV’s only been around for half a century or so – so it’s not as if they have a God-given right to exist (which journos sometimes appear to believe). Stilgherrian is right, folks (can’t call you ladies and gentlemen since so few journos are): evolve or die.

  10. nitwit

    Two observations: people who blog quote journalists a lot. People who blog that once were journalists invariably make much of their (sometimes dodgy) CV in journalism.
    I think this bit is revealing:
    “A hint: You don’t have to wait for your grumpy old chain-smoking editor to show you, either, because he’s a dinosaur and will soon be dead.”
    No one will ever pay for this.

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