no experience necessary

Screw newspapers — as long as we have bloggers, the public will be properly informed.

I understand that we need local news coverage, but what can you not find out from numerous different blogs that you can’t find by searching online?

Also, in this writers opinion, I feel that the rise of the Internet has made it perfectly clear that the rise of citizen journalists has shown that dedicated, full-time journalists are not needed as much.

That writer sure write good, don’t he?

Look, I’m not blind to the yeoman’s work done by a handful of “citizen journalists.” But can anyone provide me examples of a major local story that was broken by a blogger — one with no previous journalistic experience?

Were their sources on the record? Were all sides given an opportunity to comment?

(I wonder why anyone would feel compelled to respond to someone with no recognizable affiliation. It’s hard enough for mainstream outlets to get public officials on record — why would they respond to someone with little or no audience?)

More importantly, how are we to measure a blogger’s credibility? They have no editors keeping them honest, nor do they have an established track record.

What is their agenda?

And where do they find the time? After all, a “citizen journalist” isn’t getting paid. Perhaps they’re independently wealthy. Maybe they’re kooks with a vendetta living off disability checks. Who knows?

I know I’ve paid my dues, covering everything from cops and courts to business and sports. Believe it or not, I’ve learned plenty along the way.

I’m not demeaning bloggers. Hell, I am one. But 1,000 untrained, part-time muckrakers can’t do the work of 50 professional journalists.

Besides, without the mainstream media, what are bloggers going to link to?

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75 thoughts on “no experience necessary

  1. When I was in J-school at UGA (1991-93), we were already focused on what accommodations newspapers were about to have to make. But the debate at that time was still about the relative merits of newspapers versus television in re the efficacy of news gathering, and what the marketplace was telling us about how people wanted to consume the news (those debates now seem like the good old days — we focused primarily on how major markets could still support both a morning and an afternoon paper).

    It didn’t occur to us, wonks that we were, that the very notion of developing sources, double-checking potentially controversial assertions, or dedicating significant resources to truly investigative reporting would mean nothing to a large swath of what used to be a newspaper’s readership.

    And yet, here we are. It’s true. People say they care, but mostly they don’t. Too many believe, for instance, that a single overheard quote from a public official, contextualized in accordance with the reader’s biases, represents an IMPROVEMENT in reportage. That, by NOT interviewing powerful people, we are refusing to be suckered.

    Well, that’s a damn shame, because the inevitable result will be that the powerful (both public and private) will feel less compelled to defend themselves. Bloggers make a difference here and there, but the vast majority of the legwork is still done by people with training and credentials.

  2. You said,

    “Were their sources on the record? Were all sides given an opportunity to comment?”

    Does it not meet your criteria? What is more inside baseball than sources?

    http://doraville.org/?p=152

    Not only did Dorablog break that the Doraville Police Chief was fired but the story was picked up (with Dorablog video) by the local TV stations.

    Want some more?

  3. I”m not going to get in a back and forth with you (though don’t assume that means you’ve proven your point). If you really think bloggers can do just as good a job as, for instance, the AJC, then there’s nothing to discuss. It’s a pretty arrogant — and insulting — conclusion to reach. Maybe you’ll get the opportunity to prove it one day.

    (And no offense to DoraBlog, but that story reflect an obvious bias that does not meet the standards of newspaper journalism. Plus, going to a meeting is not exactly breaking news.)

  4. Clay Shirky takes a higher-level view of this conflict:

    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/

    “One of the effects on the newspapers is that many of their most passionate defenders are unable, even now, to plan for a world in which the industry they knew is visibly going away.”

    Long, but informative, the article compares the modern “revolution” to the implementation of the printing press. It’s a lot more general than “journalists vs. bloggers”, and gives some perspective on the whole mess.

    Hat tip to Charlie Stross (http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/) for the link.

  5. What a dishonest pile of shite.

    Please point out where I said “bloggers do just as good a job as, for instance, the AJC”.

    In fact if your readers follow the link you, yourself posted, I explained that this is a false dilemma. That we are nowhere near “spinning out that kind of investigative pieces”. Did you read my comments or simply ignore them? This is the inquisitive mind of a newsman?

    At least I acknowledge the weaknesses of “citizen journalists”. You, one of the so-called gatekeepers of truth refuse to acknowledge they do anything, even when it’s thrown directly in your face.

    As far as Dorablog. You are correct. They were simply at the meeting. Where was the “press”? Is it only news if the “press” is there?

    As far as bias in that report, I find it supremely ironic that someone sporting a banner of Hunter S. Thompson who argued for journalists to throw off the shackles of “objective” reporting is suddenly clutching at pearls about “bias”.

    Keep fiddling, C. Maybe it will salve your soul while Marietta St. burns.

  6. I find myself spending less then 5 minutes these days reading the local newspaper. Most of which it contents when it shows up in my driveway is old news that I read about the day before. I spend my morning reading time mostly online.

    There is a big difference between “screw newspapers” and screw journalists. But the spend a bunch of money for a press, print stuff, put it on a truck, transfer it to a car, and throw it on my driveway business model is dead. This is not the same thing as saying mainstream media is dead.

    Journalism will continue in the 21st in new forms. Smart journalists will realize this and adapt accordingly instead of whining.

  7. I think the truth lies somewhere between “newspapers are great, blogs suck” and “blogs rock, newspapers suck”.

    I don’t recall ever reading from Grift that newspapers do not have a place in the news world and are not a good thing. After he supplied the examples you requested, your “back and forth” response was weak.

    It is too easy to demonstrate bias and weak fact-checking in the top newspapers in the USA, much less the AJC, for me to rely on them. I think people truky understand that newspapers are not the unbiased conduits they pretend to be. The Internet helped us to learn that little bit of info.

    I still read the AJC, in fact, the print version is on my desk right now. I also think that the world needs bloggers.

    The blog post to which you linked says that full-time journalists are not needed “as much”. What is not correct about that statement? As an expert on grammar and compostition, you know what that means.

  8. “But can anyone provide me examples of a major local story that was broken by a blogger — one with no previous journalistic experience?”

    Can you provide an example of a recent major news story that was broken by the newspaper – beyond the regurgitating of a press release or the response to a call from a city official? The battle isn’t blogs v newspapers, it’s the near complete lack of ongoing investigative journalism from any source. I hate to imagine how Woodward and Bernstein would have fared were they to be pursuing the Watergate story in these times. Would Upton Sinclair be employable today? What about Hunter S Thompson? You may not like Greg Palast’s shrill, conspiracy-theory rhetoric, but he has done some amazing investigative work – but he had to move to London to keep doing it.

    If newspapers did a better job the demand for blogs and other sources would be less, methinks.

  9. Here’s a great example of a citizen journalist/blogger doing the sloggy, research-based reporting to break a story. This was circulated among bloggers/non-tradtional media at least 2 days before, in this case, WSB-TV, caught-up with the story of Euguenia Calle’s murderer’s arrest record:

    http://crimevictimsmediareport.com/?p=1

    Another example of reporting, in-depth, on a story before any local MSM got a hold of the matter was SandraRose.com on the MARTA/Soulja Girl video fiasco. She dug hard to come up with mug shots, past records, interviews, etc. Way before, again, WSB-TV propped Monica Kaufman Pearson Kaufman on some easy chairs and vaseline-ed the lens in a fully-lit studio to interview someone, anyone in their case, with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

    I’d get back to you with a list of other stories with their origins/genesis in the ATL blogosphere, but I gotta go get my nails done before the salon closes. Toodles!

  10. Grift,

    This post wasn’t about you. I excerpted that one comment because it reflected an ignorance that’s become too pervasive. You didn’t write that comment, did you?

    And I was not critical of DoraBlog’s reporting — rather, I was using it to help illustrate my point. DoraBlog injected his opinion — that’s what bloggers do. That’s what I do, on the Malcontent. Please do not infer that my blog and my work are interchangeable, You’ll notice that I don’t comment on stories I’m covering on the Malcontent, just like I don’t inject my opinion into my reporting.

    Obviously the journalism profession has its problems, but do we need to keep rehashing this? Deconstruct someone else’s vocation for a change.

    I wish you would’ve addressed the issues I raised instead of making this personal.

    (Lance, I could’ve worded my intro a little better, but I was writing about journalism, not newspapers. There are plenty of bloggers out there who think they can easily supplant the “dinosaur media.”)

  11. I think what Grift and Malcontent are really arguing about is the standards that reporters (be they paid or free, print or blog) hold themselves to or are held to by editors and readers. I think reporters whose livelihoods depend on their reporting skills are likely to take more care, check more sourcing, etc. When I was a reporter, getting it wrong mattered to me because of my pride, my commitment to facts, of course, but it also mattered because I would get fired if I got it wrong.

    It’s not that blogs don’t add to the conversation, it’s that most (not all) not associated with a news organization still don’t do any original reporting. Paid reporters get rightfully bent out of shape when someone who has never asked the tough questions or sat through the abominable public hearings start spouting off about the death of their medium and end of their job. Especially when they’re the ones providing the coverage that many bloggers feed off of.

    At the same time, local bloggers who put in the time, play it straight and follow the local issues (Decatur Metro being a notable) are becoming an invaluable resource as news organizations pare down.

    As several commenters have said, this isn’t a black and white situation. But I tend to agree with Malcontent that design of journalism today – with editors managing reporters and agreed upon standards of reporting – is something bloggers might want to adopt if its goal is to serve its readers and the public at large.

    For what its worth, I’d stop the unseemly gravedancing too.

  12. Got the left hand under the nail drier… lemme see if I can do this one-handed…

    Just yesterday, Kyle Keyser posted a beautifully-rendered piece of indie video journalism, free of editors, soundbites, bad copy, corporate sponsorship or the traditional PR industry journo-enablers, all longtime components of the traditional news-gathering model.

    You can see that here.

    Funny, at the same time, Kyle and a couple of friends managed to create a 8K+ grassroots movement at the same time! Accidentally like a martyr? I think not.

    If that’s the face of New Journalism, the New Model Army if you will, let’s hope it dances on as many “traditional” graves as it can. But accidentally though; let ‘em have time to martyr themselves.

    Dang, I could go on like this all night. Once I get turned-on, well careful what you ask for! But you know how grumpy I can get when I’m off my regular Happy Hour schedule. So toodles again!

  13. Catherine nailed it. We’re all corporate lackeys who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) uncover any news if it was stuck to the sole of our shoes.

    We’re sellouts — seduced by the job security, high pay and public adoration.

  14. I like and respect Kyle, but he’s advocating a cause — a worthy one. That’s not journalism.

    Thanks to Mr. T for some supplying some much-needed context, and a dose of class. Maybe you can lend Stacey some. She’s the self-appointed new media priestess, but just try and find any news on her site.

  15. Wow. There’s some bad blood out there regarding this issue.

    ATLmalcontent, I’m a little perplexed as to why you picked a single comment out of what I thought was a very thoughtful and thorough discussion of newspapers vs. bloggers. And in my experience I haven’t found that particular view to be all that pervasive. Many will miss newspapers dearly…myself included.

    As I stated in the post you linked to, and on many other occasions, there are many things that bloggers can’t do…due to lack of time and resources. Therefore, the loss of newspapers is a really serious issue for society. And we all know the unanswered question is how do you create a business model that can support investigative journalism if the papers don’t survive. (I know grift wants me to say “when the papers don’t survive” :-) )

    But don’t underestimate bloggers and their motives. I have no journalism background and my motive is simple. To support my community. Yes, I inject my opinion into my site, but I also work VERY hard to support an open commenting environment and I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. And that model works. And where does my credibility comes from? Simply my own online words and actions and little else. If you were to ask many of my readers who they have more faith in…a faceless local blogger or the AJC, you might be surprised by the result.

    Has this motive of supporting my community paid off? I think so. I now have more monthly visitors than any GA/Atlanta blog I can find, including Peach Pundit. So now I have a double motive. Support my community, which I do with news and commentary, but also with event announcements and free advertising for local businesses, AND to keep my site relevent and popular. Can a site like DM support itself? That’s the $64,000 question.

    And while I agree that investigative journalism is important, I would say that the newspapers long ago lost the ability to do a valuable service for smaller local communities. While the AJC might do a decent job taking the governor to task on occasion, they are WEAK when it comes to local stories. Reporters today are stretched too thin and often misstate stories in my experience. In fact, the AJC has been pilfering stories from me for a good long time without so much as a thank you or hattip.

    As for evidence of bloggers breaking stories…though I can only take credit for some of them…my readers have helped me break many stories over the years including the Trackside Fire, which we reported a full 12 hours before the AJC, resulting in over 8,000 hits in a single day. Also, the Fellini’s robbery comes to mind, which the AJC never reported.

    Additionally, I do my own leg work, going to commission mtgs, talking to city officials about issues such as our wi-fi system and development in town and I may soon even venture into the realm of doing book reviews.

    What can a blog put up against the journalistic integrity of a newspaper? How about a forum for open discussion and an entire community of support? It can’t spend a day at the Capitol, but it can cover a local community much better than a stretched newspaper.

  16. Well, nothing like putting words into my mouth! Actually, I believe that many (maybe even most) trained journalists would prefer an environment that allowed for long-term investigative reporting. Unfortunately, many papers (the AJC, locally) have decided to pursue celebrity gossip, rehashing of press releases, and wire service feeds, over in-the-trenches local reporting. The publishers are the experts, so they must have good reason for taking this path, but it doesn’t seem to be working for many of their subscribers (and former subscribers).

    I have long believed that a local paper that focused on hyper-local reporting would thrive. There are some examples around the country but it’s a new model and may not make it to Atlanta for quite some time. I’d like to know what is happening around the corner from my house and down the street from my business but it’s damn hard to find out. I would pay for that. I can get my national and regional news from a dozen free sources but when I want to find out what’s happening where they ripped out all the trees on the corner of Hollowell and Marietta there is nowhere to look for that information.

    I’m glad you’ve got job security, high pay, and public adoration-most of us don’t. I’d settle for one of three this week.

  17. Spacey – That video was great. Kyle is doing a great job focusing attention crime and its spread. I live in Grant Park and have been burglarized three times in two years. I feel his pain. That video not journalism. It’s propaganda intended to arouse specific feelings and create specific actions. It may feel like journalism because it pushes us toward the truth, which all good journalism should do, but it ain’t journalism.

    Call me old-fashioned but I want my journalism to at least strive to be a sober, clear-eyed presentation of the facts, helping the reader understand a situation so he or she can draw his or her own conclusions.

    The beauty of journalism to me is that, deep deep down, it is a field dedicated to uncovering the truth. With no premeditation, no point of view, no axe to grind. Just get to the truth. The difference between journalism and most of the blogs I read (and I try to read a lot) is the blogs almost always have their point of view and any “journalism” they undertake is to support those points. Again, there are exceptions.

    You may indeed be right that this user-generated pseudo-journalism – where everyone gets to present their truth but not necessarily THE truth – is where we’re headed. And if you want to dance on traditional media graves, that’s your choice. But I don’t believe we should rejoice over the loss of traditional journalism.

  18. This piece reads as though newspapers are the only venue in which “real journalists” operate. Unfortunate though it may be, newspaper is a dying medium. In fact, Clay Shirky published an interesting piece on just that topic last Friday: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/

    Cutting insight like “screw newspapers” and “it would take 1000 bloggers to do the work of 50 trained journalists” is both inaccurate and short-sighted. The fact is, bloggers do a lot of the leg work that journalists either can’t (because they’ve got too many stories on too tight deadlines) or won’t (because they’re burned out or frustrated with the process of getting records). And that service – particularly in the case of Tina Trent and others like her – has proven invaluable.

    I imagine that newspaper’s impending demise must be pretty frightening for the big print media outlets and all who they employ. But your energy would be better channeled in finding another venue for your journalistic talents, rather than bashing blogs and bloggers.

    Bloggers aren’t going away. Newspapers are.

  19. I made it personal? Really?

    You asked for “examples of a major local story that was broken by a blogger — one with no previous journalistic experience?”

    I provided an example.

    You said it was inside baseball.

    So, I provided another example.

    You responded “If you really think bloggers can do just as good a job as, for instance, the AJC, then there’s nothing to discuss. It’s a pretty arrogant — and insulting — conclusion to reach”

    Describing me as both arrogant and insulting as well as ascribing a position to me which I have never advocated.

    And I made it personal? Really?

    Mr. T, the problem is not the gravedancers. Traditional journalists never had those radicals. The problem is every time someone spews forth the same garbage (editors, credibility, etc.) that we’ve answered over and over and over again, you push the moderates, those who still believe things like newspapers have value, further away.

    I’d rather not be a gravedancer. But if I’m given no choice? So be it.

  20. @Kara: No one said newspapers were the only place, simply where most journalism is being done. Blogs and bloggers aren’t bashed. It’s the attitude of those who seem as if losing newspapers is no great loss and those that cheer “old” media’s demise.

    I just read the Shirky piece and it is interesting, if a little indulgent. Perhaps some of us don’t think a “few decades” of almost journalism is okay. Even if we get it anyway. As newspapers die and those reporters turn PR or waiter or whatever else they can find, we all lose.

  21. @Grift: I didn’t suggest the gravedancing is the problem, only that it’s unseemly. And I’m not here to save newspapers…that ship has sailed. All I’m suggesting is that those who think this is all gravy think about the place journalism holds in our society and think about how we successfully rebuild it when most of the journalists lose their jobs.

    Staring at my navel and describing the lint is not journalism, nor is giving my opinion about the mayor’s race, pimento cheese or Madden ’09. Even today, most blogs are personal endeavors, having little to do with more than people who like to hear themselves talk. Yes, you can show me dozens of blogs that are much better than what I just described. And I can show you multiples more that suck and we can go on for days.

    I’m not trying to convince you of anything other than editors help, safeguards protect readers and objective truth matters. Your us vs. them approach seems more rigid than necessary. I am a reasonable dude. Tell me why journalism is safe in a blog dominated world.

  22. So build on the dozens. Hell, I’m just happy at this point to hear an admission there are any at all.

    You know what I am interested in? Discussing what comes after the last printing press wheezes to a stop.

    Who says it has to be blog dominated? Not me. Never have.

    I’m rigid? It is you and Atlmalcontent who are espousing the false dilemma of all or nothing.

    Now about those editors. Which brings us to this.

    “More importantly, how are we to measure a blogger’s credibility? They have no editors keeping them honest, nor do they have an established track record.”

    It’s not even the fact that it is the 123rd time I’ve heard it. It’s the absolute willful ignorance required to make that statement.

    There are people who writing in this very comment section who have an established track record of credibility. For years. And they have done so without the shield of the Lord Protector Traditional Media Editor. For years.

    And there’s more who aren’t here. Atlanta has some of the best original work (whether you want to call it reporting/citizen journalism/or whatever) of any community in America. And it’s credible and worthy in every sense. And it’s not hard to find either.

    So my only conclusion for people who keep asking this nonsense is they don’t give a shit about truth and honesty regarding my chosen medium. So exactly why should I give a shit about their dying medium.

  23. Mr T:

    Main stream journalism has not been about “a sober, clear-eyed presentation of the facts” nor “objective truth” for decades. Who is presenting the real truth? Cynthia Tucker? The Wall Street Journal? The New York Times? CNN? Fox? The answer is none of the above and people have to read from a lot of different sources to determine their own truth.

    That’s part of the reason blogs exist. To paraphrase the Cluetrain, the Internet has enabled reporting by human beings that was simply not possible in the era of mass media.

    But journalism is safe. Just not news print journalism. Among the top 50 Web properties in January were Turner, CBS, NYT, Viacom, Weather, Time Warner, Gannett, NBC, and ESPN. Unless you want to count social networks or Wikimedia not a single blog network in the bunch. Journalism is safe because the world is not dominated by blogs. Yet. And when it is dominated by blogs it will be because traditional media companies embrace the interactive aspects that the Internet provides and treats the voices of their readers with the same respect that they treat the voice of their editorial staff.

    Readers can safeguard and protect themselves.

  24. “The problem is every time someone spews forth the same garbage (editors, credibility, etc.) that we’ve answered over and over and over again, you push the moderates, those who still believe things like newspapers have value, further away.”

    Editing and credibility — what garbage. You’ve answered none of the points I forwarded. And what was the info. you REPORTED from the Creative Loafing layoffs? There’s a link with the basics, and then you cite unconfirmed reports.

    The Pulitzer in the mail.

  25. Does your dishonesty have no bounds?

    I was the first to report any layoffs at Creative Loafing. Read the date you jackass. When I wrote that there wasn’t even a hint of trouble at CL Atlanta. Now they are in bankruptcy.

    And everything in that piece is original except for the press release by Ken Edelstein which was added in an update. There was an original source and followup with the editors of three publications as well as the corporate office.

    I don’t expect any fucking Pulitzer. But I would expect some fucking honestly from someone who wants to preach to me about credibility.

  26. It was a five-inch story that included the phrase “unconfirmed reports” and relied on information from another source linked within. That would not get past an editor, but who needs that garbage.

    You made three calls — get over yourself.

  27. You asked a question. I provided an answer. If that answer isn’t good enough, I’ve got others. Even some without the dreaded link. By the way, what point of that was added later do you not understand?

    But what’s the point? There is no amount of blood that will satisfy your butcher’s bill. No matter what is put in front of you, you will never admit there is original work in your community simply because it does not fit in your little box.

    Fine. Live with the consequences.

    Be proud of one fact however. You’ve successfully converted me to gravedancing.

  28. The Northern Alliance and other random lightly-armed Afghans on horseback couldn’t rout the Taliban. They needed the C4ISR and airborne firepower of the trained, disciplined, professional U.S. military — and latter needed to grow beards and listen to the locals. It was a bold strategic leap in a new kind of war. Today it’s clear we can’t afford the same kind of massive steel military that won the Cold War, but we can’t exactly pretend other countries aren’t developing fifth generation fighter aircraft either. Careers at the Pentagon are made and ended on figuring out the right balance.

    So, your industry can’t afford its traditional paper-based model anymore but the world can’t defend the forces of good without its professional officer class and powerful infrastructure. Is now really the time to be saying the rag-tag cowboys can’t do squat? That’s what we thought about a bunch of other cave-dwelling razor-wielding freaks, but every now and again they pull off something surprisingly big.

  29. @Kara: Very cool. The URL I posted (2:20pm) links to a reply to the essay you posted.

    It’s more than a bit sad to think of newspapers not existing, but that’s the point of what’s going on. Broadcast media is a niche market at best, because (a) it is broadcast, and (b) there might not be an outlet in the world that isn’t compromised by some interest or another.

    Combined, they are the long-term reasons why the Internet has eaten everyone’s lunch. There are too many outlets for interests to control and maintain influence, and while some of those outlets are forums, there will always be an open channel somewhere. In those open channels, Assembly and discussion prosper.

    To the degree that an interest seeks to control its message, both that interest and its messenger incur a disadvantage.

    Case in point: DaleC and ICAtlanta, who find it necessary to spam threads with talking points. They have to resort to spam, in an effort to spike discussions that can neither be buried by an editor, nor driven out of existence with ‘market forces’ meant for that purpose.

    Yes, I am directly comparing the newspapers’ decline to that of the (so-called) Conservative movement; they are all based on controlling interests who are similarly dissolving in a bog of free assembly.

    With regard to the comparisons between newspapers and television…there is a vital difference, in that television can deliver live video. Otherwise, television has coped so far, by directly inflating its prices, as measured by the ‘top-tier’ subscription packages and channels. That fluff will die off, much as the newspapers have, but television will still have live programming to fall back on (as well as any shenanigans involving bit-rated internet).

  30. Journalism is how we see the world around us. It’s going to be left in the hands of those who DO give a shit to actually produce it – in whatever form they can conjure up. The tools to do so are cheap, as well as plenty of the emotions behind them, I agree.

    In the long run, I’ll take an engaged citizenry over corporate news farms any day, any time.

    Unlike most of you clowns commenting here, I actually trained in “journalism” at such a place. For years. And lemme tell you, most people committing the kind of righteous journalism Mr. T feels so bloody patriotic about wouldn’t know “truth” if they ran over it in their Beemers.

  31. Don’t cry for me, I’m a real journalist! Funny how every major city has at least one daily newspaper, two weeklies, 50 radio stations, 10 of those are news/talk and three to six local TV stations.

    The public has been getting most of its news from TV for the past 30 years.

  32. Some Other Mike – please point out my “spam”. Dismissing my posts as “spam” and “talking points” is pitiful and weak. Especially when you preceded it with the genius storke that broadcast is a “niche” market. That may be the dumbest remark that I have ever seen posted. Ever. I love the logic that broadcasting is a niche because it is broadcast. WTF? A niche market involves free access to hundreds of millions of people? Really?

  33. BTW, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is going online only. No more print.

    Bomp Bomp Bomp.. another one bites the dust.

    All you “newspapers are sacred” clowns need to keep on fiddling.

  34. Sorry Grayson, I should’ve known that actually caring about journalism would earn your derision. So be it. For the record, I’m not anti-blog, I’m pro-journalism. And I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive.

  35. Uh oh. Lance, who’s not a journalist last I checked, is linking to research and evidence and polls and stats and stuff like that. Without benefit of editor, publisher or a dead-tree delivery device. Does that make Lance a “linkalist?” Is it all “in context” for all those small-minds-at-large?

    None found on this thread of course, which, delightfully, incorporates some of the brightest kids on the ATL media block. Virtual block, of course.

    So that begs the question… can they be considered “real” kids on the block?

  36. I’m not anti-journalism, T. No one’s trying to kill journalism, and certainly not me, someone who actually gets-up off of their fat ass, charges-up the way-expensive batteries, revs up the engine, shows up, and bothers to commit it (journalism) frequently – out of sheer personal compulsion and NOT on a reward basis.

    I think mostly though that journalism is being severely re-defined right now though. And maybe that’s a good thing.

  37. This whole debate is very interesting to me. Reading through all the comments only confirms my theory – I think the reality is that we need to figure out ways that “professional” journalists can embrace and work with bloggers. To me that’s the biggest challenge facing the MSM today. Forget about the us vs. them motif that’s rearing its head throughout the comments here. Both sides of the aisle bring value to users.

    If there is a lesson to be learned from social media (and there are PLENTY), it is that a culture of inclusion is the best means to “scratch the itch” that users have. I could spout a myriad of examples about the challenges facing newspapers, but the reality is that one of the primary reasons newspapers have moved away from local coverage is that there’s no scale – and thus it’s VERY difficult to monetize.

    As a non-journalist who works at the AJC (full disclosure – I manage mobile, video, and social media), I think one of the best things we can do is to apply the professional journalism skills that we have to what’s going on in the blogosphere. Rather than require bloggers to “certify” their own credibility, could we not serve that role ourselves? Could we not use our skills to surface citizen-journalist content that might otherwise be hidden?

    If there’s a breaking story that is outside of our ability to cover (whether it’s a resource issue or a strategic issue), wouldn’t it be in the public’s best interest to pass that along to someone who can cover it? Most bloggers I know would LOVE to get that scoop – and would provide credit as appropriate.

    So instead of debating and lamenting about the future of journalism, in my opinion, we ought to get on with the business of being journalists. The future will figure itself out but in the present there’s lots of opportunity to do the things that journalists do best.

  38. Note that spaceyg bitched about not being included in Andisheh’s CL cover story on blogs that matter a few years back. So I guess the old media does matter, at least when it comes to promoting spaceyg.

  39. Dale C, you are an ass. Do you typically make jokes when large numbers of people lose their jobs? Man, Detroit — now that’s hilarious.

  40. Al Kosa – I was referring to the future of newspapers being discussed in several blogs and the seeming holiness of their mission and very existence in this one.

    Yes, it is sad that those people lost their jobs. It is even more sad that the people who own and edit newspapers are incapable of making the changes necessary to remain a relevant part of people lives. Witness the plummetting circulation numbers at almost every major daily in the USA. The smart ones will transition to new media or some other rewarding (to them and the readers) form of journalism. The dinosaurs will not.

    Thank you for reminding me of Detroit. I posted on this very blog the sadness of that once great city.

    I am certain that you never ever make a joke at someone else’s expense.

    @ ATLMalcontent – please explain to Al Kosa, as you did me, that he should learn to be a proper guest and take his insults elsewhere, por favor.

  41. From the archives:

    SpaceyG gets pissy with former CL staffer Andisheh Nouraee, exhibiting all the class and restraint we’ve come to expect.

    http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/BrowseComments?oid=oid%3A249888&page=3

    As I mention over at DTTG, making lists is not journalism, Andy. It’s just pretty bullshit, and has nothing to do with the state of the social media community in Atlanta. You’re a snotty little dipshit reporter who can’t tell a story without layers of baby snot blown all over your silly copy, to disguise the fact that there was simply nothing newsworthy in this cover list.

  42. I see, insults are fine if you agree with them, rather than as universally accepted behaviour.

    Nice. Hypocritical, but nice.

  43. The insult was deserved, provoked by the joy you took in seeing people lose their jobs. You were being an asshole, as Al correctly observed. Should he have complimented you?

  44. You asked, I will reply.

    I have apologized for the comment already.

    That said, I feel sorry for the employees at the Seattle P-I. The smart ones will continue to be successful in new media or another form of journalism rewarding to them and the readers. The dinosaurs who refuse to embrace the new media will fade away. It will be painful for all.

    I posted that in support of my position that the old media will die if it doesn’t wake up. The owners and editors need to get with the new program or they will suffer the same fate. In the context of these new vs. old media threads, it was appropriate.

    It is sad that these employees are unemployed due to the failure of their bosses to adapt.

    I don’t take joy in those people losing their jobs, but I do take joy that my position is bolstered by the failure of that paper. It is possible to be happy and sad at the same time.

  45. Arguing over why we need newspapers or newspaper reporters is quite irrelevant don’t you think? It’s like the little boy in Sixth Sense: “I see dead people … only they don’t know they’re dead.” Sorry, but it’s over. The printing press has had a nice 500 year run. But, times change. Maybe we can save a few more forests as a result.

  46. This isn’t about newspapers, it’s about the quality of journalism we can except when/if newspapers disappear. If we’re left to depend on the likes of Grayson/spaceyg for our news, well, her bile speaks for itself.

  47. Sadly I agree with Lance Weatherby – by the time I read the paper it is old news that I read the night before on line. Papers will have to figure out how to make money in the new model. There is a definite need for objective journalism – generally they hold the powerful accountable, break stories, expose corruption, etc (not doing such a good job of that lately), but generally they do.

  48. I see my flagrant mistake was quickly stomped; it’s almost like I was…edited? :)

    In saying “Broadcast media is a niche market”, I (a) join the opposing contexts of media in the aggregate, vs. individual outlets (which do serve niche markets); (b) confuse oversupply of channels with smaller demand for them; (c) look outside of news to include other content, and (d) look to the future a bit.

  49. I started a blog because the MSM is so one-sided on the subject of crime policy that their coverage often reads like pro-criminal propaganda.

    Want some examples? Uncritical deference to one-sided “crime studies” like the Pew Center for the Cities Reporting on purported “crime savings” of community sentencing, which does not account for expenses incurred when people under community control commit more crimes; deference to the Innocence Project’s faux “statistics” on “causes of wrongful incarceration” that fails to take into account the number one factor in wrongful incarceration — a history of committing other crimes. Deference to the defense bar without seeking out anti-criminal voices when covering countless trials. Deference to the false statistics promoted as death row exonerations — no, all those cases weren’t “overturned,” as is widely reported. They were returned to the courts, and in virtually all cases, the defendant is still cooling his heels with a life sentence, instead of death, for the crime he really did commit. Deference to the unbelievably corrupt, politicized and biased enforcement of bias crime laws.

    I think that in the case of crime, blogging is entirely symbiotic with sourced news. A journalist needs to keep his or her sources talking to them, and so there are many stories they cannot cover, important stories, stories that are critical of the justice system, critical of certain lawyers and judges. Bloggers can be critical. This is true of all sorts of stories — but particularly ones involving politicians, public policy, and the courts.

    There is more than one way to learn the ropes of a certain subject. Sourced journalism is one way. It isn’t the only way. I’m surprised by the ire here.

  50. No.

    When it comes to qualifications, experience and even the craft, Jim runs circles around me.

    But I’ll put my credibility up against anyone.

  51. You’re not a journalist, dude.

    I cooked dinner for several people once but I’m not a chef. And if you can’t understand why people like me — who’ve paid their dues and learned their craft — resent people like you who haven’t, but act like they have … well, there’s no use in continuing this debate.

  52. “Paid their dues”…

    I come from two main backgrounds, music and sports. In both cases, I can’t tell you how many times the old timers said something like that because some young kid had just blown them off the stage or field with superior talent.

    I am NOT saying that Grift is more talented than you, nor am I saying that in a macro sense either.

    I guess I would say it this way, “A local blogger who has longtime talent. Doesn’t matter where talent is practiced.

    Does it even matter that he stated clearly that he is not in Jim’s league as a journalist?

  53. Selective reading again ATLMalcontent?

    Let me repeat myself.

    When it comes to qualifications, experience and even the craft, Jim runs circles around me.

    Am I suppose to also say that I have no credibility to complete your sense of self-worth? Ain’t going to happen.

    And let me add this, something I said in Decemberr 2007.

    “If you actually read my blog you would know I have never called myself a journalist and its rare that I rely on rumors and press releases.”

    http://griftdrift.blogspot.com/2007/12/when-journalist-get-huffy.html

    The only people who seem to insist that I have somewhere somewhen called myself a journalist are journalist.

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