Apr. 10th, 2009

flewellyn: (Default)
So, the Atlantic Monthly and National Journal, bastions of traditional media, conducted a survey of prominent members of the news media whether they thought the internet was helping or hurting journalism.

Three guesses which one they said. The first two don't count.

That's right: Media Insiders Say Internet Hurts Journalism was the Atlantic's headline.

Color me shocked.

I found this story on Shakesville, in a story Melissa McEwan had titled "Maybe You Should Try Not Sucking". Other suggested headlines from the comment thread: "Media Insiders Admit to Cluelessness About How to Make Money on the Internet", "Media Insiders Resent Being Caught And Called Out On Their Pathetic, Lazy, Biased Screed Masquerading As News. Details at 11.", and my own, "Media Insiders Hate Competition, Being Shown Up For Falling Down On Job".

To be fair, they are right in one sense: the internet IS hurting journalism, if you define "journalism" the way they do, namely "pronouncements of our opinions as The Truth From On High".

The internet has done a huge number on their monopoly on public discourse, and they're really mad about that. They're important people, dammit! They know this is true because they say so!

Put more generally, they've defined journalism as "what it is that we do, as Important Journalists". Since they have, over the past thirty years, stopped doing actual journalism (in the dictionary sense) and taken on the role of blathering opinion-spouters who speak in soundbites and often don't bother actually researching, that, in their mind, is journalism.

So when people on the internet start actually doing research, and presenting nuanced and detailed views of the world, it feels like an attack on their world of "journalism", and they react with hostility. Because, hey, if just any person can present opinions and soundbites, and amateurs on the internet can present real journalism better than they can, then that might mean that they really aren't as Important and Vital as they insist they are! Why, then the common people might start doing journalism, and we can't have that!


flewellyn: (Default)

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