Saturday, April 08, 2006

the lifecycle of a journalist turned blogger

"Journalist" might be a bit of a stretch in my case.

At the young age of 16, I took my first job as a weekends-and-evenings sports reporter at the local newspaper. By the time I finished high school, I had two years of experience in the newspaper biz.

Then came college, and later a return to my "beat," only for a different paper. (Please visit the Peak's site. Top story: Powell River is in the top 50 for Canada's most spirited hockey town!)
All tolled, let's call it four years as a notebook-and-camera-totin' reporter/photographer before I segued into advertising.

I tell you this only as a prelude to the two stories I'm about to point you to, to explain why they have some level of sentimental significance to me.

Two of our fellow bloggers have stricken some heavy blows against major newspapers in North America's epicentre of commerce, New York City.

In the first, let's call it the Warm Up: Sex Columnist, erotica author, editor and blogger Violet Blue (careful, NSFW) drags a New York Times journalist through his own muck, by publishing an email he sent to her that he marked "not for publication." She didn't agree with a piece he wrote about a blogger who was threatening violence against Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin. So she posted about it, and put his rebuttal online, including her critique of it. Ouch! Score one for the power of blogs, and I'll tell you why. You can sense from this cat's letter that he cares very much what Violet says about him, and fears her influence. Violet wins this one, in the name of defending her friend, and society's nonchalance toward violence against women.

Ding ding! In round two: Jeff Jarvis (a crowned king of influential bloggers after his lash-outs against Dell) has published a link to a story about a gossip columnist involved in a payola scandal, and later goes on to elude to the death of the power of journalism. Push aside the notion that celebrity publicists have the power that Mr. Jarvis gives them credit for. It's the audience that matters, and now we have to the tools to fight back when we see something we don't agree with.

Does this mean that newspapers are a dying breed? Yes. And no. Their days are numbered, sure. But people still want their news, and some of them definitely prefer to see it in print. People from places like the "Big Apple" and places like Powell River still want their newspaper, same as always.

That's not likely to change for a good long time. So that's where ad dollars still go; plain and simple.

Update:: Jarvis has more on the subject today, including a link to a NYT story about the behind-the-scenes trading of the valuable commodity known as gossip.


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