« The Ghost Map Revealed | Main | »

Comments

Jay Rosen

Yes. And thanks for saying it, Steve.

The "replace" discussion is conducted by journalists for journalists who have read other articles about bloggers by journalists who were themselves writing for other journalists.

AAwoken

I agree entirely.

I think blogs allow people to read in depth coverage about topics that are generally not palatable for the mainstreram media.

There are a small group of us who write about addiction/recovery, an area that is generally ignored by the mainstream media. Exceptions being to celebrity rehab admissions and the like. Note: Mel Gibson's recent woes. The mainstrean media only seems to focus on topics that will make money and/or increase viewership. We write because we care to help others not because we are interested in making money. Also note the scarcity of books dealing with addiction/recovery, yet it is a topic that affect almost every household or family in the world. Know anyone killed or maimed in an accident involving drugs or alcohol?

Robin Hamman

The BBC News Online story about the recent Pew Internet and American Life study that looked at what bloggers wrote about, and asked whether they saw themselves as journalists, ran with the headline "Numbers cut through blogging hype" and said:

"Bloggers who say their writings are a form of journalism are in the minority, despite the hype, two surveys reveal." (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5197808.stm)

The rest of mainstream media took pretty much the same line: "see, they aren't REALLY like journalists"

Yet most of the 1000 or so blog posts (as per technorati: http://www.technorati.com/search/Pew%20Internet) covering the release of the same study spun it the other way - that quite a high number of bloggers, 35%, felt that what they do is a form of journalism.

When blogging about it myself, I nearly thought they were two different studies.

Beau Dure

The one thing Lemann mentions in passing that I think deserves more play here is the role of bloggers as intelligent aggregators. By looking for connections between different topics and different news organizations, they can add value.

All the more reason Jay was right in declaring peace between bloggers and traditional journalists. There should be a symbiotic relationship. Now if we could just get everyone to dial down the snark, it might work.

Dave

Speaking as one of those professional journalists, I'd just like to point out that "diamond in the rough" just means "diamond in rough form." There isn't any "rough" (golf or otherwise) that the diamond is sitting in.

But other than the inappropriate turn of phrase, your observations are right on (although you neglected to mention that blogging will tend to erode the credibility of mainstream journalists, and rightly so -- we've been coasting for a long time on the safe assumption that only we would be policing ourselves).

Jemaleddin

You wrote:

examples of sloppy, offensive, factually incorrect, or tedious writing will be abundant in the blogosphere.

You know, they're abundant in journalism as well. Your paragraph implies otherwise...

Ted Rheingold

I've always wondered what the blogger-journalists would have to write about if they didn't have all the primary research of the MSM to work off of. If MSM goes away there would be so much less for such bloggers to write about. I don't mean to slight them at all, but aside from the real muckrackers, the average blogger journalist is not creating new news, they are filling in a complimentary role to MSM which is fact-checking, reality-checking, widened-perspective, fresh-look, and all the other things we enjoy so much about the new medium. This is definitely an important role, but supplanting a press agency on no budget and organization is simply not realistic at the moment.

Mitch Ratcliffe

Steven,

I think I added something new:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ratcliffe/index.php?p=164

The only thing that journalism as a professional endeavor does is recognize that its practitioners are human, prone to mistakes and bias like humans are. The process of journalism is to review the resulting reporting for mistakes and errors of omission or commission, in that order of escalating importance. The question, then, is whether the practices of journalism are worth preserving, whatever the channel for the resulting writing, audio or video.

Tom Holland

As bloggers leap to defend themselves, some of the assuptions that are made about the traditional media are worryingly uncritical.

Reading through the Guardian and the Times recently (the print editions, I mean) I'm amazed at how close they come to the stereotype of a cats-and-angst blogosphere--you just have to replace the angst with food-neuroses and the domestic animals with the family nanny. The signal-to-noise ratio isn't that much higher than blogs, and at least on the web I can filter the narcissism out without having already paid for it.

Betty Medsger

Lemann was writing for a much larger audience than the in-crowd that knows enough -- or thinks it knows enough -- to agree on those points.

Anna Haynes

> "Lemann was writing for a much larger audience than the in-crowd..."

was he?

Has he come down here to the blogosphere to explain and weigh in?
If so, where?

If not, why on earth not?

I'd email him to ask/invite, but the New Yorker article gives no contact/feedback instructions, only has "e-mail this page to a friend" and "subscribe today" as options.

Tom Guarriello

I've just picked up Henry Jenkins' new book, Convergence Culture. In the first chapter, he addresses the issues you raise, quoting Nicholas Negroponte's (Being Digital) and George Gilder's (numerous) proclamations about the death of the old at the hand of the new. (For the record, my own, less visible sentiments were right in line with theirs.)

I'm looking forward to finishing Jenkins so that I can find out how things are going to turn out!

_oh

Sure the blogging environment has evolved into something, but into what? Steven Johnson made a point recently about the Long Tail: At the end of the day, wrestling is just wrestling.

In his book, Out of Control, Kevin Kelly describes the environment of the equatorial seas, where the creatures there cease to evolve physiologically, and just evolve than biologically. Many observers have pointed out how 'local' the information spaces are. The blog space is no different. Most stay within familiar waters.

Sure, these calm and fertile seas, produce amazing variety and novelty - all kinds of networks and relationships. But for real diversity, you really do need a more rugged environment. That is perhaps, the rugged diversity of the world with individual texts.

Because, the blogsphere now makes it so easy for us, to create our own calm and fertile ocean waters - that ruggedness is being lost. We can avoid serendipity, avoid the storms and the turmoils.

Brian O' Hanlon.

Josh

As bloggers leap to defend themselves, some of the assuptions that are made about the traditional media are worryingly uncritical.

Reading through the Guardian and the Times recently (the print editions, I mean) I'm amazed at how close they come to the stereotype of a cats-and-angst blogosphere--you just have to replace the angst with food-neuroses and the domestic animals with the family nanny. The signal-to-noise ratio isn't that much higher than blogs, and at least on the web I can filter the narcissism out without having already paid for it.

_oh

I think that journalism, and many of the creative professions are currently undergoing problems defining themselves. Narcissism is indeed a good word to describe it. It follows through designers, architects, planners, musicians, you name it. Namely the people who are meant to visualise and conduct investigation into the world we inhabit. But they are no longer doing that, because it is so much more efficient to 'reflect' the work of other professionals all around you. It is so 'available' now, through the pipe, the fibre, the airwaves, a complete and alternate existence.

It was said, that our vision was reduced after the discovery of perspective in the 15th century. That group working really ended when the monks stopped reciting books to each other. When they discovered print, and retreated into their private cells. Today, with the heightened sensations of time and space, we get from media and displays - we almost ignore the world around us. I wasn't really aware how bad this is myself, until I recently witnessed a massive car accident in the street. For some reason, the visual component was the same, as one would see in the matrix. But the audio component of a real car accident, still isn't captured fully, by today's technology.

I am thinking of turning my study shortly, to an author called Peter M. Senge, who wrote the Fifth Disipline. Basically, Senge has become fascinated by the problem, of understanding what is changing in the world, but we are unaware - we don't see it. How to encourage a whole organisation to see a new vision all at once. It is a powerful goal I think. John Thackara has reiterated this point, throughout his book, In the Bubble.

Brian O' Hanlon.

_oh

Lets go back 'beyond' traditional media altogether. As media is getting more and more sophisticated, human beings obtain more and more abilities at shutting it out.

Finally, it is impossible to get into peoples' brains at all. Despite the fact, our brains are designed to absorb and process so much in real time - we have become aware of advertising etc, constantly attacking our nervous and sensory organs - and we have blocked a lot out.

This becomes a problem, when you are trying to do something in a group, as a group - something positive I mean, like save a company, or even start one. It is hard to compete with all of the noise, for peoples' attention. Remember all of the experimentation the counter culture did in the 60s with substances, to open up their perceptions again. A lot of those early adopters of substances, were indeed engineers, planners, designers and company executives trying to solve taxing and real problems.

A lot of this blogsphere, was envisioned back in the 60s by Englebart and company. We are seeing it gradually re-emerge now, decades later, on this platform known as the www. Englebart and company, realised in the 50s, how diabolically complex systems were becoming. That we would have to return to group working again to cope.

The manual for a spitfire bomber in WWII was a thousand pages long. By the 1980s, the manuals were so heavy, the planes themselves could not take off the ground. The documentation for the space station freedom, cost a billion alone. Let us not forget, how old hypertext really is, where it's roots were. It came from a problem - how will people cope, under the shere weight of information that presses upon them.

Maybe we are just going back again, to pre-printing press days, like those monks reciting books to one another?

Brian O' Hanlon.

_oh

Maybe everything, from the printing press onwards allowed people to be more individual. Later on, if I master 'perspective' drawing, and that westernised kind of rational way of thinking, it instantly allows to act as an individual and communicate my message to very many. Point to many, as it were.

That was when the airwaves were un-cluttered though. Like the way, telescopes are now experiencing too much pollution, atmospheric and radio, the attention span of people nowadays is too short for anything to really sink in. We are probably withdrawing at long last, from this progression, since the printing press. Back to a time, when we shared more information in person, face-to-face.

People are becoming important, in the equation more than ever, now that such complexity abounds, in the world we have created.

Brian O' Hanlon.

Joseph Hunkins

I think, therefore I'm insane?

Your first point - that professional journalism "should" play something like the powerful role it currently plays is as misguided as a Fox News analysis and simply absurd. Mainstream journalism stinks, and is getting worse. Blogs can fix this deficiency.

Although blogs are only beginning to challenge the absurd commercial sensibilities of mainstream journalism I have much higher hopes than you that blogger journalists will prevail over mainstream celebrity journalism which reaches new lows every year. (cf many great mainstream journalists who are impressive but stifled by forced brevity).

Mainstream journalism has fallen very far from reasoned analysis of current events. It no longer pays more than superficial attention to critical news events (e.g. "Oral rehydration therapy saves millions", "Congo War", "Global Child Welfare", etc, etc.

seamus

Wait, didn't you hear that bloggers defeated Joe Lieberman????

Robert Swipe

The kind of blogging I'm interested in - and that seems to be causing such concern amongst "bona fide" journos - has about as much to do with mainstream journalism as the Sex Pistols have in common with the canon of classical music.

Your opinion is as valid as the next person's, but kindly spare us the lectures, eh? We're exploring and expressing our humanity in a world filled with lies and moral pygmies.

Thank you and good night.

Roy

I think there is a thirst for media that is fair and unbiased. Mainstream media is biased even though they pretend they aren't. If a blog is biased at least the writer of a blog usually admits it, unlike mainstream media. There is also a need for media not driven by shareholders. Bloggers fill that need.

forum

this is just the downside of not maintaining a clear separation between artists and audience. The audience thinks they are artists, and the real artists have to pay the price of negative public perception when the audience gets out of hand

glory

Really perfect!r

Hillari

Very good site! I like it! Thanks!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

SBJ via Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    The Basics

    • I'm a father of three boys, husband of one wife, and author of eight books, and co-founder of three web sites. We spend most of the year in Marin County, California though I'm on the road a lot giving talks. (You can see the full story here.) Personal correspondence should go to sbeej68 at gmail dot com. If you're interested in having me speak at an event, drop a line to Wesley Neff at the Leigh Bureau (WesN at Leighbureau dot com.)

    My Books

    • : Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

      Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
      An exploration of environments that lead to breakthrough innovation, in science, technology, business, and the arts. I conceived it as the closing book in a trilogy on innovative thinking, after Ghost Map and Invention. But in a way, it completes an investigation that runs through all the books. Sold more copies in hardcover than anything else I've written.

    • : The Invention of Air

      The Invention of Air
      The story of the British radical chemist Joseph Priestley, who ended up having a Zelig-like role in the American Revolution. My version of a founding fathers book, and a reminder that most of the Enlightenment was driven by open source ideals.

    • : The Ghost Map

      The Ghost Map
      The latest: the story of a terrifying outbreak of cholera in 1854 London 1854 that ended up changing the world. An idea book wrapped around a page-turner. I like to think of it as a sequel to Emergence if Emergence had been a disease thriller. You can see a trailer for the book here.

    • : Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter

      Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
      The title says it all. This one sparked a slightly insane international conversation about the state of pop culture -- and particularly games. There were more than a few dissenters, but the response was more positive than I had expected. And it got me on The Daily Show, which made it all worthwhile.

    • : Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

      Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life
      My first best-seller, and the only book I've written in which I appear as a recurring character, subjecting myself to a battery of humiliating brain scans. The last chapter on Freud and the neuroscientific model of the mind is one of my personal favorites.

    • : Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

      Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
      The story of bottom-up intelligence, from slime mold to Slashdot. Probably the most critically well-received all my books, and the one that has influenced the most eclectic mix of fields: political campaigns, web business models, urban planning, the war on terror.

    • : Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

      Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate
      My first. The book I wrote instead of finishing my dissertation. Still in print almost a decade later, and still relevant, I think. But I haven't read it in a while, so who knows what's in there!

    Blog powered by Typepad