The byline makes the man?

The byline makes the man?

: The luddite idiocy of Alex Jones of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard has already been skewered and fisked elsewhere before I could get to it (damn, I wish jets had Internet access already). But I can’t resist piling on, especially because of the contrast between his dismissiveness of weblogs and the openness to them that I saw the Aspen Institute, above.

Jones says:

But make no mistake, this moment of blogging legitimization

  • Attention all Journalists – Bloggers are NOT trying to be journalists. They are trying to be bloggers. Journalism is not blogging, blogging is not journalism. They are too different things, and reading this same drivel day after day is starting to make all these journalists sound like a bunch of insecure cry babies. Both have their own set of merits, and everyone has their own opinion as to which has more value. Blogs are getting attention because they are just that, blogs. Stop patting yourself on the back by assuming someone else is trying to be you, they aren’t.

  • Andy

    I give blogs more “benefit of doubt” in their reporting. I expect honesty and find it. The community is very good at outing those who are dishonest, in fact or intellectually. A deceptive blog would need a community to support and hide the falsehoods.
    Journalists have lost their credibility. They use the public good will for their politically partisan purposes then hide behind anonymous sources and Freedom of Speech claims. We even have books published by “anonymous”. This practice blurs the line between fact and fantasy. Any reporter can create sources from thin air.
    How do we the readers know when we are reading a news report vs a piece of fiction in a news report setting? The journalists do not challenge each other. They do not engage each other. “Anonymous” makes it impossible for one reporting institution to verify another.
    It’s a game that they no longer care about enough to pretend is noble. Their march towards monopoly mind-set has been broken. Look at their eyeball numbers. They have to lie about them lest the world see that they are no longer relevant.
    The Church and organized religion faced a similar erosion when they too were no longer relevant. When people can vote with their feet, their pocketbook, their time, they do.
    If there is any universal business lesson from the past decade it is “you cannot control the customer”. Manipulation of the relationship only works for a limited time. Then the backlash occurs.

  • Mike

    Way to go Mr. Jones, you won my trust by insulting me. Sharp as a ball-peen hammer, that Alex Jones.

  • I can’t believe I’m saying “Why can’t we all get along” — but really, isn’t it pretty obvious that a lousy blogger, even a popular one, is no more a journalist than Judith Miller or Jayson Blair? Jones has no ground to stand on — but neither do defenders of blog. Journalism is nothing more than a genre of writing. There are good writers and bad writers, and they’ll pop up all over the place.

  • Michael Zimmer

    They use the public good will for their politically partisan purposes then hide behind anonymous sources and Freedom of Speech claims
    While I agree with you, I don’t see how blogs are immune from the same problems. Can’t a blogger (even a very popular one) use the “public good will” of cyberspace to for their own “politically partisan purposes” and then hide behind their own curtains?

  • Nice analysis, Jeff. Will you be at the convention in Boston?

  • Bostonian

    Michael, a blogger can try to do the same thing, but the other bloggers won’t let him get away with it.
    The issue isn’t the personalities or the credentials–it’s the process. Any blog with an even moderate readership gets talked about on other blogs.

  • JohnC

    These days I get the majority of my news via the web and blogs are my “index” into many many different news sources. I’m reading the work of mainstream news entities, but the pointer to the article originated with a blog entry/comment/summary of that news article. So to me, the blog vs BigMedia question isn’t answered by one or the other, but by both of them.
    The thought I had while reading your quotes of Alex Jones, was that he’s apparantly reading only the Lefty blogs. Flamewars, lame commentary, anger, and name calling. Yup, that’s the left end of the blogosphere.