September 17, 2003

Talk Amongst Yourselves

When I grow up I want to be able to rant as well as Jeff Jarvis.

Jeff lays into the Online News Association - and the "insularity" of news industry organizations - in a screed launched when the group invited him to speak at its conference but planned, as he put it, "to charge me $475 for the privilege."

The reason: "The committee decided to charge panelists to register is that most of the panelists are also members of the organization who otherwise would come to the confererence and otherwise pay (and they didn't want to give up that revenue)."

The result: "It means that you're just talking to each other, mirror to mirror, online newsperson to online newsperson." And that, says Jeff, is "what makes these industry organizations worthless to me they are usually just newspaper people talking to newspaper people. And that may be fine for newspapers (that's for them to judge) but it's not for this new medium."

Of course, it's not fine for newspapers. Their inability to adapt, and subsequent audience loss, to the flattenened media hierarchy is rooted in their clannishness and inbreeding of ideas.

Journalism - in print or on the Web - is not the first industry to face challenges that threaten its survival. There is much to be learned from other industries. It's time to stop talking to just ourselves and start listening to others.

 Jeff Jarvis Online Schmooze Association

Posted by Tim Porter at September 17, 2003 10:47 AM