News is Conversation

Mathew Ingram comments on an article by Christie Blatchford, one of his Globe & Mail colleagues. Blatchford says that the 2008 Olympics are the “blogging” games, as she witnessed a lot of blog writing from her fellow journalists. Blatchford does not seem to enjoy the impacts of blogging on journalism as you can see from her observations:

And now there is blogging, and comments. Readers may take 30 seconds to post a comment on a story or blog item that a writer dashed off in a minute. On The Globe website, our slogan is “Join the Conversation,” but in the blogosphere, what follows isn’t usually a conversation but a brief, ungrammatical shouting match. You can have more pensive chats in a bar fight.

And journalism wasn’t meant to be a conversation, anyway. It was maybe a monologue, at its most democratic a carefully constructed dialogue. If readers didn’t like or agree with the monologues in paper A, they bought paper B. What was most important about their opinions was that they thought enough to spend the coin.

Ingram obviously disagrees and says “This is the least defensible part of her argument, in my opinion. Who says journalism wasn’t meant to be a conversation? It wasn’t one in the past, that’s true — or only a “carefully-constructed dialogue” — because we didn’t have the ability to create a real two-way discussion. Now we do.”

What it means: unfortunately for Blatchford, social media has created a new age of transparency. Readers are now expecting to be able to join the conversation and give opinions. I think this is scary for a lot of people as it requires you to be on the front line for everything you broadcast. You need to be able to defend your ideas, admit (quickly) you were wrong when that happens, add updates provided by your readers, and provide answers to new questions. Journalists weren’t expected to do that previously and that’s quite a change in pace.

4 thoughts on “News is Conversation

  1. Blatchford is somewhat taking a conservative approach when she nostalgically defines journalism in terms of what it was in the past.

    As the world evolves, the media are continuously recast, adapting itself to contemporary societal forces.

    The increasing role of the media consumers is both unquestionable and novel. Events reporting is no more the monopoly of the so-called experts (the journalists). Rather, without denying their role, they are today participants in media production/consumption.

    Robert Scoble streaming live video from the world economic forum in Davos in February 2008, or citizen journalism with CNN’s iReport are manifestations of changes the field of journalism undergoes.

  2. Blatchford is somewhat taking a conservative approach when she nostalgically defines journalism in terms of what it was in the past.

    As the world evolves, the media are continuously recast, adapting itself to contemporary societal forces.

    The increasing role of the media consumers is both unquestionable and novel. Events reporting is no more the monopoly of the so-called experts (the journalists). Rather, without denying their role, they are today participants in media production/consumption.

    Robert Scoble streaming live video from the world economic forum in Davos in February 2008, or citizen journalism with CNN’s iReport are manifestations of changes the field of journalism undergoes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s