The Hamster Wheel

It seems the pointless hamster wheel of journalists vs. bloggers is spinning up again along with the Large Hadron Collider. This one though, is more likely to produce a black hole than the LHC as the two camps disappear up their own collective orifices. Why, oh why, I ask, do the “professional journalists” in their ivory towers (and no few bloggers down in the muck) persist with the false dichotomy that they are on opposing sides?

This time, it’s (very) old school journalist and former editor of the Australian, Mark Day, laying his polished Oxford into the baggy-jean wearing backside of the bloggers.

Mark, why? Journalism as we have known it is an endangered species. You need your friends where you can find them.

I felt compelled to comment on Mark’s piece, which in a bit of delicious irony, is actually on his blog at The Australian. I don’t know whether he’ll publish it, the Australian tends to be very slow at approving comments. As such, I’m reproducing it here in the interests of history.

Mark, as a blogger and one-time journalist, I agree with you that many people who comment on blogs are asinine or disrespectful. I hazard they are the same fringe who in the past wouldn’t have been published in letters to the editor.

George Megalogenis is entirely within his rights to establish rules of engagement for his blog, as is any blog author out there. The establishment of such rules are something I strongly advise my clients to do when, as a part of the communications strategies I help them develop, they venture into blogging as a communications medium.

It appears you make the assumption that the writing done in the name of journalism as a profession is somehow better or more accurate than that done in blogging form. Or that bloggers don’t have access to the sources and information that journalists do. I strongly disagree. There is richness in both forms, as equally, there is pap. There are also bloggers with significant access to sources close to power and important information – that which would “[create] news”, as you say.

The issues repeatedly trotted out that seek to belittle bloggers of all stripes as some lesser being to journalists are specious at best. The world needs both and to continue to perpetuate the false dichotomy that one is better than the other is ridiculous. The relationship between professional journalists and bloggers, in today’s largely online world is symbiotic. They need each other.

In a world where the heritage organisations who to now have been the purveyors of news are removing journalists from roles, the journalists and the bloggers need to work together to empower themselves. To reinvent the media in a new form where the Fairfaxes and News Limiteds of this world see their already shrinking relevance reduced to irrelevance. This is not fantasy or pie in the sky, it’s reality.

I don’t know about you, but think it’s about time this ridiculous false argument was silenced once and for all. We could then just get on with the job of writing good stuff and finding the news, no matter where it is and no matter who’s breaking it.

3 Replies to “The Hamster Wheel”

  1. Trib,

    Well said! I get the feeling that the animosity towards bloggers from some journalists comes from the constant fear of being replaced!

    I’m with you though, I am sick and tried of listening to this rubbish debate! Lets live peacefully together and enjoy the good journalism AND blogs and patiently ignore the crap!

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