January 19, 2005

Reading List: Bloggers, Economics, Humans and Pogo

After a road trip, it takes me a while to get caught up on my reading, electronic and other. Here's what caught my eye:

Blogging vs. Journalism: Dig a hole and bury that issue, says Jay Rosen in preparation for the Harvard conference on Blogging, Journalism & Credibility. He proffers five points for discussion, ranging from freedom of the press (redefined) to stand-alone journalism. The money quote:

"I have been an observer and critic of the American press for 19 years. In that stretch there has never been a time so unsettled. More is up for grabs than has ever been up for grabs since I started my watch. Part of the reason is the extension of "the press" to the people we have traditionally called the public." (Emphasis added.)

Questions for the Conference: Bob Stepno has his own list of what the Harvard conferees should talk about. He asks:

"If the bottom-line and entertainment news are the main thing to the conglomerates, what happens to the public-affairs function of journalism in a democracy? As UNC's Phil Meyer has asked, can public institutions or non-profit foundations support the more resource-intensive, social-service, watchdog functions of the press? Will some profit-making new-media model inherit the job?" (Emphasis added.)

Making Distinctions: Ed Cone points us to this tidy summary: "Blogging is a tool, Journalism is an occupation, and Credibility is a goal. They are strange bedfellows."

Economics and News: Jeff Jarvis takes a crack at repainting the big picture with an excellent series of questions. Two parts: here and here. A sampling:

"How do we serve a mass of niches instead of the mass audience? How do we afford to do that? How do we assure we do not ghettoize and marginalize those publics?"
"We need to retrain newsrooms in multimedia and interactivity. How should news organizations and colleges do that?" (Emphasis added.)

Reporters as Human Beings: Mitch Ratcliffe points out that fallibility is inevitable and skepticism by the public is a valuable tool in understanding media. He writes:

"Reporters are human, which involves some corruption of heart and mind as well as moments of true courage, honesty and charity."

A Pogo Moment: Alan Mutter holds a mirror up to editors and publishers who blame the public for the falling relevancy of newspapers. He writes:

"Even if it is true that more citizens can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of federal government, it is self-defeating to blame reader apathy for the industry's failure to evolve a product that been begging for an extreme makeover for decades. Remember what Pogo said? 'I have met the enemy and he is us.'" (Emphasis added.)
Posted by Tim Porter at January 19, 2005 07:57 AM