As a journalism major, I really find the challenges that reporters and MSM are facing these days to be incredibly interesting. For me, the writing part was always the easy part; it was the reporting that I found and still find difficult, and these days the rules are being rewritten. Witness the brouhaha that’s been building over at Wired as one of it’s reporters has been trying to do a story on some Web 2.0 types who don’t want to play by the traditional rules. Jeff Jarvis deconstructs the whole affair in his blog, and if you want to get a sense of how radical this is, imaging the following as part of the new model:
As Winer says: â€œSo if you want to work together, letâ€™s find a new way to do it. Iâ€™m fed up with the old system. The way we start the reboot is to do all our work out in the open, real-time. Not via email, but in full view of everyone.â€ Examine the possible benefits of this: The reporter asks a question and I answer it. But I get it wrong and a reader pipes in to give a correction. Isnâ€™t that a better way? I read my answers as I write them and improve them myself. Whatâ€™s wrong with that? Why should the reporter get the opportunity to rewrite and edit and I donâ€™t? Why should the reporter get to look smarter than the subjects? The best reporters, after all, go to find people who are smarter and know more than they do to get the best story. Ah, but I can hear some of you saying, wouldnâ€™t this blow an exclusive? Well the exclusive has a fleeting value of about 30 seconds anymore anyway. And whatâ€™s exclusive about what Dave Winer has to say about Mike Arrington? If anyone owns that exclusive, itâ€™s Dave, no? And Daveâ€™s stance is that if he has anything to say on a subject, heâ€™ll say it on his blog. Welcome to the transparent era, my fellow journalists. You want transparency? This is transparency.
What’s fascinating to me is just being able to watch this play out. Seems like every day the challenges mount. I know in my own case that I would much rather use the wisdom of the crowd to help me make decisions than the traditional advertisements I’ve been peppered with all my life. I mean really, how long will advertising as we know it have any effect on what we buy when we can connect to people who we actually trust to guide us?
Technorati Tags: media, journalism, education
Andrew Pass says
Will, As a side note, I recently read that there’s a great deal of tension in the New York Times newsroom as the list of most popularly blogged articles becomes ever more important. I wish that I could remember where I read it. The article explained that a veteran reporter became jealous when the editor congratulated a newbie on having an article make it to the list.
In some sense, this list makes something like email a component of Web 2.0. The emailers have a say in what stories are considered important.
I hope it’s OK that I veered off the main topic a little.
Carolyn Foote says
This issue of transparency and its effects on all the different mediums is fascinating.
I picked up an advance copy of a book at the recent TLA conference, Cult of the Amateur, that you might be interested in.
The author, Andrew Keen, argues that this transparency and the production of videos, music, journalism, etc., by amateurs is destroying the professional practice of those arts.
He even goes so far as to predict that there will be no more hits because talent will not be nurtured.
I find that point highly debatable, because it seems to me that the transparency and democracy of web 2.0 allows more talents to shine, and allows more voices to emerge that might not ordinarily have had the forum before.
While there are many fine reporters, I personally think much journalism in our country has gotten shoddy, and the challenge coming from bloggers and online “journalists” is one that will improve the quality of journalism as a whole. It seems that many journalists have forgotten the art of digging for a story, and citizen journalists see the importance of that.
Keen does raise some interesting points about authority and the blend of advertising and “authentic” content and how to distinguish them.
I haven’t finished the book yet.
I think we’re in for a challenging era, as all these professions shift and adjust to this new “transparency” (professions including education, I might add).
Erin Cox says
“itâ€™s reporters has been…” As a journalism student, you should be getting the it’s and its right. You meant its. (“It’s” is a contraction for it is or it has). Sorry if this is really picky but I honestly do think we need to focus on getting the basics right.