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They still don’t get it ...
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, September 24, 2008

At the National Press Club Centennial Forum at Johnson & Wales University, Robert Whitcomb, vice president and editorial page editor of the Providence Journal said:
“I think citizen journalism is grossly overrated. It’s great for parts of the media to save money. But as rigorous journalism for informing the public, much of it stinks; it’s terrible. Many of the citizen journalists have large axes to grind.”
Where to start. Well, for one thing, this story is to be found on the National Press Club Blog, for one. That, I assume, is what Whitcomb means by "saving money".

And I'll give him a nod on the "much of it stinks, it's terrible." Yes, it is and does. But so does much of the "rigorous journalism" that is passed off as unbiased, objective and complete reporting.

In fact, one of the reasons for the rise of "citizen journalism" (journo-code for "blog") is that "rigorous journalism" was (and still is) so awful. Network news and newspapers aren't just losing customers just because alternatives have arisen. Many of them are losing them because of shoddy reporting and perceived bias.

As for grinding axes, most of the "citizen journalists" make no bones about their "axes" nor do they try to hide them. But they object to the axes the MSM continually says don't exist when, in fact, they are out there in plain sight for all to see (this election and the Iraq war being perfect examples of the phenomenon).

Whitcomb might as well get used to "citizen journalism". It continues to get bigger while newspapers are doing what?
* comScore MediaMetrix (August 2008)
— o Blogs: 77.7 million unique visitors in the US
— o Facebook: 41.0 million | MySpace 75.1 million
— o Total internet audience 188.9 million
* eMarketer (May 2008)
— o 94.1 million US blog readers in 2007 (50% of Internet users)
— o 22.6 million US bloggers in 2007 (12%)
* Universal McCann (March 2008)
— o 184 million worldwide have started a blog | 26.4 million in the US
— o 346 million worldwide read blogs | 60.3 million in the US
— o 77% of active Internet users read blogs
Pretending it is a passing fad or is going to go away is a good example of "whistling past the graveyard". The democratization of the "printing press" is forever - the genie is out of the bottle. And as it looks now today's version of "rigorous journalism" better figure all of this out or it is well on its way to occupying one of the plots in that graveyard.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Of course blogs are over-rated. Look at poor Dan Rather and CBS, and the lies LGF and other bloggers spread about the fake but accurate Bush memos.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
In the past few years TOO MANY blogs have popped-up that are nothing but propaganda and are sponsored by a particular campaign, PAC or one of the fading national parties.

A great value-added step would be for aggregators to sift through the blogs that they carry and either eliminate or minimize the appearance of the propagandists and blogs that only spout their disinformation/propaganda, but deny any discussion, especially opposing views.

One example of an aggregator who could do much more to enhance blog quality is, Blognetnews. BNN apparently does not differentiate between coarse propaganda blogs like Fred2Blue on the Left and Write Side of My Brain, on the Right, and even includes inane blogs, like Cathouse Chat where some girl writes about her quilts and other non-political blogs, all crammed together with the few blogs that offer real political content AND tolerate and encourage discussions with those with different views or new sources of information.

By really promoting the value-added blogs that provide significant content, aggregators could help promote good blogs and help steer the citizens toward the good content providers and away from the time wasting propagandists.
Written By: J. Tyler Ballance
URL: http://
I would think a blog called cathouse chat would have more interesting topics than quilts . . .
Written By: Don
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