Monday, December 08, 2008

Why Bloggers Will Never Replace Journalists

The Chicago Tribune announced hiring bankruptcy advisors and the law firm Sidley Austin. The Herald Tribune reports the McClatchy Co. is looking for a buyer of the Miami Herald.

The McClatchy Co., burdened by debt and a steep slide in newspaper advertising, wants to sell one of its most prized properties, The Miami Herald, according to people briefed on the company's plans.

McClatchy, the nation's third-largest newspaper chain, has approached potential buyers for The Herald, said these people. But they said they knew of no serious offers for the paper, reflecting the evaporation of major investors' interest in buying newspapers.

The company refused to discuss the matter. Elaine Lintecum, the treasurer, said, "We do not comment on market rumors."

"If anyone should fear a Depression, it should be journalists, who are already the equivalent of 1980s steelworkers," wrote Virginia Postrel. "But instead, they seem positively giddy with anticipation at the prospect of a return to '30s-style hardship--without, of course, the real hardship of the 1930s. (We're all yuppies now.)"

Glenn Reynolds approvingly links to Postrel's post.

And in 1914, a lot of the same sorts of people were giddy with anticipation for the war, because they expected a transformative and purifying experience. It was transformative.

This is utter nonsense. Postrel should ask the laid off employees of the Tampa Tribune if they feel "giddy" or purified about being laid off. I regularly exchange emails with members of the media. These people are scared of losing their jobs during a recession. Those concerns do not fit Reynolds' and Postrel's anti-media libertarian worldview that conservative bloggers are true reporters and the media is liberal propagandists.

Reynolds and Postrel have no intention of reporting from the frontlines of Afghanistan. The media gave us the excellent Lara Logan. The blogsosphere takes media rejects, such as unsuccessful columnist Michelle Malkin. The media may drop print and become an online beast. The news services will still be doing reporting. The bloggers will be commenting and linking to the news.

The person ahead of the curve was Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. Marshall turned his blog into an online news service. There is election coverage, breaking news stories, and investigative journalism. His work on the blog earned a Polk award. Reynolds kept overstating how blogging would replace the media. Marshall quietly created an internet media empire.

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At December 08, 2008 9:33 AM , Blogger tas said...

Don't make fun of them -- they still have Pajamas Media!

At December 08, 2008 9:44 AM , Blogger tas said...

Though in all seriousness, what blowhards like Reynolds don't understand (or maybe they do but just choose to ignore to make money off gullible book buyers) is that real journalism takes money. Fox News isn't a "news" network, it's a talk show network because producing actual news is too expensive for their tastes. Having reporters on the ground means spending resources that only a few organizations have -- and bloggers ain't part of that group.

And what do bloggers do? Even the best ones still comment on already reported news.

This logical disconnect has always mystified me. All people like Reynolds do is comment on previously reported news. Pajamas Media is a joke -- have they even produced an actual story? So how can people like him continue to say that bloggers will take over the media? And how can his readers continue to swallow such tripe? These people have no critical thinking skills whatsoever.

And, I dunno if anybody has noticed, but with this past election blogs have reflected MSM more then even. Hell, how many CNN videos were posted this past year?


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