Blogs on Blogs v. Newspapers


Bill posted earlier about the exciting new journalism project that Jay Rosen, associate prof at the journalism school of my alma mater NYU, is undertaking. There are many perspectives out there in the blogs and in the traditional media about Rosen’s efforts to bridge the gap between citizen journalism and professional journalism and about the role of blogs versus the traditional newspaper. Daniel Schorr recently told a USA Today reporter that he finds bloggers “scary” because “there is no publisher, no editor, no anything. It’s just you and a little machine and you can make history.” To some that may be scary, for others it’s the future.

ZDNet’s Donna Bogatin blogs about Rosen’s project, asking Rosen’s funder, Craig Newmark about the significance of NewAssignment and “the convergence of professional journalism and citizen journalism and ‘equal partnership’”:

Mostly, this is my way of participating in the evolution of sustainable journalism. I figure there’ll be a number of experiments, a few will work, but we don’t know which ones.

The convergence, which is already happening, just provides the opportunity for the more effective and trustworthy reporting to be visible to more people. I think we’ll see such a profound merging of both forms of journalism that they’re really won’t be "sides."

Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine writes:

This is an answer — not the answer — to the frequently asked question in the shrinking news business these days: How will we support journalism and investigation? NewAssignment will not replace the work of professional news organizations. It will complement them, attacking the stories that are not being covered.

At Joho the Blog D. Weinberger approaches NewAssignment in a similar manner as Jarvis. It is not “the answer” to the “money question” of how network journalism will operate. Instead NewAssignment “responds to the question, "How can journalists and citizens work together, in public?" NewAssignment may validate that hybrid, networked journalism gets the job done. But as a charity, it is not — and Jay is clear about this elsewhere in his post — the business model for the future of journalism.”

Malcolm Gladwell broaches the fears of Daniel Schorr, and takes on Chris Anderson (whose book The Long Tail got the Slate treatment today), by arguing that blogs will not overtake the traditional media, newspapers in particular.

Any form that consists, chiefly, of commentary and criticism is derivative. We need derivative media sources to help us make sense of what we learn from primary sources. But you can’t have one without the other, and although it maybe possible for some bloggers to think of their thoughts as rising, fully formed, from the blogosphere, it just ain’t so. Even people who do not think of themselves as being influenced by the agenda of traditional media actually are: they are simply influenced by someone who is influenced by someone who is influenced by old media—or something like that.

Today also brought a story produced by the old media about the new media supplanting another old media. The Washington Post ran an article on YouTube’s broadcasting of the Israel-Hezbollah War being fought in Lebanon. The article’s premise is essentially: Is YouTube the new CNN? (The major difference being that you actually see what the bomb did rather than watching some infrared videogame.) “In a matter of weeks, YouTube has become a video Dumpster for a global audience to share first-hand reports, military strategies, propaganda videos and personal commentary about a violent conflict as it unfolds.”

The 2006 Knight-Badden Awards, mentioned previously by Bill, produced a website that allows citizens to cover events throughout the world much like YouTube can through video. The site GlobalVoicesOnline provides an extensive number of links to blogs throughout the world. In one place you can go and read a food blog from Turkey and then switch over to a blog from Beirut about the current conflict. There is more news here than any news organization (save for maybe the BBC) could produce or would be able to fit into their programming or paper.