Get off my land says journalist

An article on Guardian Unlimited about plans for Mobile Group 3 to sell through clips to broadcast news outfits finished up with this…

The rise of citizen journalism has called into question the future of traditional journalists and editors. Last month, however, the executive editor of Sky News wrote in the media trade journal, Press Gazette: “I happen to think there will still be a role for editors – not just to assess information, but also to prioritise and present it in a way which, as well as making the news understandable, also reinforces its importance and point. [This is] something an anything-goes citizen journalism blog can’t do.

“Professional journalists will always need to decide if it’s news or propaganda.”

It’s a continuing surprise to me that editors continue to talk in such discrete, monolithic tones about ‘blog journalism’.

Yes, in most cases, a newspaper editor is better placed to “assess information” and “prioritise and present it” compared to the writer of a specific blog. But that isn’t the competition they are facing.

The challenge to traditional journalism is the amorphous nature of the blogasphere. The thing is a sum of its parts. It isn’t something that has an editorial line.

The editorial line is generated every time an individual uses rss feeds to sift through a number of blogs. Every search in Technorati is an editorial meeting of one.

The real skill of a journalist is to communicate effectively. To tell a person about something in an interesting, informed and balanced way. I don’t think that is exclusive to journalists but the ‘hit rate’ is better and people are attracted to that and will search it out.

The blogosphere isn’t trespassing on our land and we shouldn’t try and filter it or become gatekeepers. We should just concentrate on doing what you do best.

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