Monday, February 14

Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters

I normally don't post serious news on my main blog, but this is pretty important and I just got the scoop. So, being a "salivating moron" I thought I'd make a go of it.

Tomorrow there will be an uproar in the blogosphere about this article that just came out in the New York Times about two hours ago.

The New York Times > Technology > Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters

In essence the NY Times hits the blogosphere head on. The question it essentially asks is,
Is the blogosphere citizen journalism, or is it a high tech lynch mob? For the precise details read on.

"Steve Lovelady, a former editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal and now managing editor of CJR Daily, the Web site of The Columbia Journalism Review, has been among the most outspoken.

'The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail,' he lamented online after Mr. Jordan's resignation. He said that Mr. Jordan cared deeply about the reporters he had sent into battle and was 'haunted by the fact that not all of them came back.'"

That's right, I'm searching for an alternative context, but Steve Lovelady would appear to be directly referring to bloggers as "salivating morons" who make up a "lynch mob". That's pretty clear.

Steve Lovelady's quote is then immediately followed by.

Some on line were simply trying to make sense of what happened. "Have we entered an era where our lives can be destroyed by a pack of wolves hacking at their keyboards with no oversight, no editors, and no accountability?" asked a blogger named Mark Coffey, 36, who says he works as an analyst in Austin, Tex. "Or does it mean that we've entered a brave new world where the MSM has become irrelevant," he asked, using blogger shorthand for mainstream media.

There is also an excellent quote by Jeff Jarvis of the Buzz Machine. Once again I'm including some of the NY Times article to illustrate how they frame it.

Mr. Jarvis said bloggers should keep their real target in mind. "I wish our goal were not taking off heads but digging up truth," he cautioned.

My thoughts: Wow, First a NY Times photographer, then Trent Lott, then Dan Rather, and now this. This is by no means every incident either. The list of incidents that have massed attention in the blogosphere and ended in firings or resignations in real world media and politics is long and getting longer everyday. There is no doubting the power of blogging, but blogging is not rolling these heads itself. Blogging is merely letting the murmur of voices in the back room be heard. In all of these cases blogs were not judge and jury. In each one of these cases blogs merely pointed out very specific facts. We see this again and again. Racism as clear as day, obvious photo manipulation, and obviously fake documents. Verified every one. This is looking dangerously like a trickle that could turn into a raging torrent.

What I'm saying is blogging may have been the start of this chain of events, but it cannot and will not be made a scapegoat. Those who committed the acts have hung themselves, and those in the press who point fingers should just as soon look in the mirror. What we need here is understanding, and forgiveness. These are lessons for all us to learn from. I cannot say so for all of these people, but I do have respect for Dan Rather. He has learned a lesson for us all and we'd be wise to learn from his mistake as he has and allow him to go on with this knowledge as we press on ourselves.

Secondly, Blogging is by no means a "pack of wolves", a "lynch mob" or a bunch of "salivating morons". What is factual and what you can reliably quote and I will stand behind for my part is; only fools or those with loose tongues would throw out such rampant generalizations.

Blogging if you haven't noticed by now is a MEDIUM, a medium as plainly as newspapers are a medium, or TV news, or radio. It is not a genre or a fad or a pack of anything. Mediums are controlled by and represent no one group, especially in the case of the blogosphere. Bloggers are as diverse and varied as the day is long. They vary from hard hitting political wordsmiths to teenage cat bloggers. They vary from elite executive millionaires to people living below the poverty line.

You can no more generalize and label bloggers then you could put these labels on more traditional mediums such as the tv and radio. In fact given the diversity of blogging and bloggers these labels are especially ridiculous, for newspapers, TV, and radio by comparison have a much, much narrower representation. So, whomever you are, before you attack the blogosphere and before you label it remember this:

The blogosphere IS the people, and it is more representative of the people every day.

I leave you with this piece of zen from the finger pointing New York Times. NY Times - December 12, 2002 - Fire Trent Lott.

Of course the New York Times has placed this whole article behind their great wall requesting payment, so you might try another source. On Lisa Rein's Radar: NY Times Says: Fire Trent Lott

(Via: Broadcasting Intelligence: Defining the Blogosphere, "Bloggers as News Media Trophy Hunters")

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Technorati: Technorati Tracking on the NYtimes article

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice critique. This article needs to be seriously (and will be, god bless them salivating morons) analyzed.
NYT is the MSM and they are becoming irrelevant because individuals are figuring out ways to reach broad audiences with out having to go through any such filter. Bloggers risk a jury of peers, which is generally harsher than any managing editor. The whole system is changing, and the ones who benefit from the olde one are frightened. The ones who have figured out how to benefit from the new one are blogging right along.