News flash: Dave and Nick are both right

by Mathew on October 14, 2006 · 3 comments

I never thought it would come to this, but I have to say I think Dave Winer and Nick Carr are both right. Dave, riffing off a post by Jeff Jarvis on where journalism is headed, said that he sees the future of media as like cooking dinner rather than like a symphony, since “readers are becoming writers.”

A nice way of putting it, that last bit. Nick, meanwhile — in a somewhat restrained post, at least for Nick — juxtaposes Dave’s musings with several reports about journalists being killed, including Anna Politkovskaya in Russia and two German reporters in Afghanistan. The message being (I assume) that real journalists get killed and bloggers sit around in their pyjamas.

A fair point (one also made in the LA Times recently). And yet, I think back to the blogger known as Salam Pax during the invasion of Iraq and some of the things he wrote, and wonder whether that wasn’t equivalent to war reporting in many ways. Maybe not battlefield reporting, but he could easily have been targeted by his government for what he was writing. And there are plenty of “traditional” journalists who make the average blogger look like a reporting dynamo.

Are bloggers going to replace all kinds of reporting? Hardly. Or at least, not until we have bloggers in war zones, as Dave suggests in a follow-up post. But no one said this was an either-or question, or at least it shouldn’t be. There will always be a need for strong reporting, from all kinds of places — I think we are just broadening the scope of who gets to do it, and that’s a good thing.

Update:

Haydn Shaughnessy has some worthwhile thoughts on the topic of readers vs. writers (and the need for editors).

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    The fallacy is the vision of the quasi-commune. I keep asking, what’s so great about being an unpaid stringer? What’s so superultrafantastic that you can be a freelancer for no money (or Google Ads pennies)?

    What happens is that a gatekeeping structure develops where there’s a few voices heard, and everyone else. Yes, it’s possible for someone to be in the right place at the right time and get a big break in terms of attention that way – I heard it, I don’t need that repeated. But so what?

    Again, a big problem is an almost pathlogical denial of a gatekeeping system, in the fact of manifest evidence from the Power Law in the abstract, to the practice that the same Big Heads in the bogosphere get attention for saying the same things over and over.

    [anti-snark - I've said all this before too, that's my cross to bear]

  • Mathew Ingram

    Thanks for the comment, Seth. Although I think we may disagree on how much there is, I would agree that gatekeeping occurs — see the post right after this one about Edelman and Wal-Mart and the lack of coverage it has gotten in the A-list. That’s human nature, to some extent.

  • Pingback: Bloganas in Pyjamas « tumbleblog

Older post:

Newer post: