Media Giraffe

I’m at the Media Giraffe Confab at UMass, after driving up here with Jay Rosen (four hours in the car, plotting to take the world over complete). Will blog as paneling allows.

Helen Thomas is speaking first. I’m not sure why. She dives right into her screed: “I never felt before that our country is as rudderless, leaderless as it is now.” Follow with litany of privacy fears, “the fear card,” WMDs, and “that groveling, Republican-controlled Congress.”

Well, I suppose it’s an interesting beginning to a journalism conference in the new age when objectivity is dead. We are, indeed, watching its obit.

But it’s also interesting that the woman who has thrown lighter fluid on the embers of her career with opinion and advocacy now also tries to keep others out of her game: “Everyone with a laptop thinks they are a journalist. The problem is that anything goes. There are no basic standards about what’s accurate and the truth…. Bloggers are not necessarily journalists.”

I am going to ask as a convener of the first panel, with Vin Crosbie, that we take a pledge: This is not about bloggers v. journalists, damnit. It’s not about preserving the past, complaints, seeing the people as competition, working apart, us v. them.