Monday, June 22, 2009

Can grassroots journalism do the job?

My doubts are growing about whether we can rely on volunteers to produce credible journalism for a sustainable period of time.

Although a number of do-it-yourself ventures have embraced modern technology to attempt to fill the void created by the retrenchment of the mainstream media, there is scant evidence to date that any have succeeded to the point that they will support the sustained efforts of professional journalists.

Professionalism matters among journalists, because it enables them to devote the proper levels of diligence, discipline and time to reporting on public affairs in an objective and disinterested fashion. And professionalism, by definition, means paying the practitioners a sufficiently high level of compensation to attract bright and talented people to the craft.

New projects like Global Post, True/Slant and San Diego News Network give journalists platforms to present their work in exchange for what everyone hopes will be a comfortably compensatory share of the advertising revenues attracted to each site. The projects are in their early days, but it is safe say the participants in even these comparatively well-funded and high-profile ventures are toiling at the moment for far more love than money.

While it is true that the hard work of one or a handful of highly motivated individuals can create something worth reading for as long as their enthusiasm holds out, the time and hard work involved in serious reporting seems to suggest even the most impressive grassroots projects will be condemned to relatively short life spans.

Even where the will to go forward remains powerful, there is no satisfactory answer to the practical question of how long talented, capable and motivated individuals can afford to commit themselves to self-assigned journalistic endeavors that so far are not known to have generated any appreciable income for the writers.

The Gannett Blog is a case in point. A seemingly promising experiment in hyper-local, crowd-sourced citizen journalism, it was launched about 1½ years ago by Jim Hopkins, a former Gannett journalist. Now, Hopkins says he is going to pull the plug.

Hopkins said he will stop producing his blog on Oct. 1 because he is exhausted by the hours required to tend it, because he is disgusted with invective he says was hurled at him and because he couldn’t earn even $15,000 a year for his trouble.

Though the Gannett Blog started strong in the fall of 2007, Hopkins' behavior got a bit peculiar. He said he spent $2,000 to hire a bodyguard to protect him when he attended the Gannett annual meeting on April 28. And a video of the meeting shows him exhibiting something less than professional journalistic demeanor during the Q-and-A portion of the program.

Regardless of what you think about Hopkins or his blog, his experience makes for an intersting case study.

An editor and reporter for 20 years, Hopkins had a number of unique advantages that should have favored any hyper-local, crowd-sourced venture in citizen journalism. Consider:

:: The Gannett Blog’s hyperlocal community consists not of a group of people who coincidentally happen to inhabit a particular geography but rather a homogenous community of more than 40,000 people who work for Gannett Inc., the nation’s largest newspaper publisher. Beyond sharing merely geography, Gannett employees share common professions and the common fact that they all rely on the same company for their livelihoods.

:: Crowdsourcing was a slam dunk. Hopkins fortuitously began writing his blog at almost the precise moment the traditional economics of the media business began unraveling. News, rumors and tips rapidly flowed to Hopkins from employees who hoped he could help them make sense of what proved to be a series of spending cuts, layoffs and mandatory unpaid furloughs. Traffic to his blog peaked during the most traumatic moments.

:: The citizens who provided journalism to the Gannett Blog in many cases were real journalists. Strategically positioned throughout the company, the blog’s contributors had the motivation, acumen and professional skills to ferret out the inside dope they fed to Hopkins. Those tidbits made the blog indispensable reading for a great number of their colleagues.

Hopkins started the blog after taking a fairly generous buyout from Gannett that enabled him financially to turn the blog into something approaching a full-time endeavor. As the proceeds of the buyout dwindled, he began casting about for a way to be paid for his efforts. He considered selling advertising but soon found that he had too-few page views to reap appreciable revenues.

When he tried the tip-jar approach, he was subjected to a fair amount of scoffing and came up thousands of dollars short of the modest $25,000 a year he had targeted. So, despite all the advantages the Gannett Blog had going for it, Hopkins says he will call it quits.

The Gannett Blog is only one of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of grassroots journalism ventures. While it admittedly is not fair to project this outcome on all the rest, you are left wondering:

If a blog for employees of a media company run by a journalist who is leveraging the skills of other journalists can’t make it, then what can?

61 Comments:

Blogger Tony at CSUF Comm said...

Curiously, as I read this some folks in my newspaper's circulation area are wondering if CalCoastNews.com, formerly UncoveredSLO.com, will survive because its' cofounder - one of only two reporters on what they touted as an investigative journalism site - is going on to a video venture.
They say they will be hiring more reporters, but the site is so new, just a couple of years old, paralleling the Gannett Blog, it's almost an eerie compare an contrast. It would seem they'd need momentum to keep the business model going.
CalCoastNews survives with what appears to be a tip jar and some advertising. It has a strong following, but how long can this too last?

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pfft.

Regardless of whether or not grassroots journalism can do the job -- and I believe it can -- one fact remains.

Professional journalism cannot and will not do the job. Mainstream journalists are 95% Democratic Party donors, and this bias is reflected inn their coverage.

Journalists are no longer trusted, and for good reason.

Therefore, the grassroots is all that is left. And guess where the readers are going? Twitter, Iran, anyone? We know where to find the real story, and it isn't in your biased ivory towers.

So censor this comment, if you will. That's what the mainstream does, after all -- cutting out everything that doesn't fit Teh Narrative.

But it doesn't matter. You're less relevant every day. You're just a roadblock, and we are working around you.

2:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Re your final paragraph --

Obviously conventional old-style journalists are lost in the new environment.

What can make it? Something newer.

The title you give yourself is quite appropriate. Welcome to the world of the Newsmammals.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.P.S. This Hopkins character wasn't doing grassroots journalism. He was trying to recreate dinosaur journalism on a smaller scale, with himself in control as the "qualified" journalist.

Real grassroots journalism is what we are seeing on Twitter right now, with the reports from #iranelection.

It arises spontaneously, from a fusion of events, people, and the technical means to send messages.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thank you! Meaning well, other journalists have not always been as skeptical of my efforts. In the end, that made for occasionally too-soft stories about me and Gannett Blog.

You were there in the beginning, Alan, so it's fitting that you'd be there as I exit, stage right.

(Now, do I get bonus points for posting this from my iPhone?)

7:09 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

"If a blog for employees of a media company run by a journalist who is leveraging the skills of other journalists can’t make it, then what can?"

Very funny. That's exactly what WON'T work.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Crisatunity said...

More than a demonstration that a new way didn't work, it is a demonstration that a new way can't work with the old parts. One failed attempt doesn't mean it can't work.

The one certain thing that must change is the concept of journalism as a career. It is a profession, a passion and an art (of sorts). Once it mingles with the career train it is doomed to failure (or at the least suffer from catastrophic quality issues).

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment about "Newsosaur vs Newsmammal" is bang on.

Technology is changing the media landscape in qualitative ways; not only has the journalism profession betrayed itself by parroting lies and nonsense (from all sides) like groveling sycophants but they have neglected to keep up how the world is changing. Big dinosaurs died off, small mammals took over.

The days of Walter Cronkite being the trusted voice of truth are over; now we're left with pundits and talking heads that no one believes even when they're telling the truth. Journalism has bankrupted its credibility.

This is a different world than we all grew up in, adapt or perish.

Maybe this TED Talk from Clay Shirky will help your thinking.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Jason said...

@Anonymous 2:46 am

So we're going to used a biased source to replace biased ivory towers?

And guess what? Twitter is being used not to get around biased journalists, but because the regime is trying to stop (by refusing to extend visas, imposing house arrest, etc.) journalists from reporting from inside Iran.

BTW, love how Republicans have adopted the victimology of the Democratic Party's various interest groups. No wonder you guys got your ass kicked in November.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The criticisms are interesting here... Tweets are effective tools but it's not like they exist to make money for the Tweeter.
Make fun of Al for calling himself Newsosaur, but we doubt money will ever become extinct, although, like news, its delivery method may change with technological advances.
Money is an issue for everyone. That's a main topic at
jiltedjournalists.com.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gannett blog will stop the second week of July, not in Oct.
I liked it and enjoyed Jim's take on things. TMhe gay-bashing was vicious and I tired of reading it and drifted to cancelthebee, another opinionated journo blogger.
The fakestevejobs blog got hits toward the seven figures, and he had to bag it also.
there is no money in these things. more like a digital vanity press, good tho many of them are.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Howard Owens said...

There was nothing "hyperlocal" about Gannett Blog, not that "hyperlocal" even means anything.

And to draw any conclusion about a blog that started as a hobby with no business plan is hardly a sensible business analysis.

Meanwhile, my wife and I are making our way with The Batavian.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:42 -- Just biased source can replace a biased ivory tower.

Multiple biased sources are even better. They provide different biases that balance each other out, representing a true spectrum of opinion across the populace.

The highly selective view of individual journalists, trained and recruited from the same sociopolitical strata, with largely the same opinions, cannot match this.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Adapt or perish" -- that's become a rather tiresome wheeze. Adapt to WHAT? NONE of you have ANY idea where this is going. Stop pretending you're privy to some inside information.

Only humankind would be foolish and vain enough to believe it has any control over the future.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Georgia McDaniel said...

I think one of the most important aspects of a newspaper is beats, with reporters and editors gaining expertise, history and sensitivity to all the aspects of that beat. That is what we will miss.
When the San Francisco Chronicle closed it's local office on the Peninsula to the south of the city, the loss was substantial.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Rufus said...

You hit the problem right square between the eyes in your first paragraph: "volunteers to produce credible journalism for a sustainable period of time..."

It is a problem for all volunteer-run ventures, not just journalism. Reporting news is hard work, but because it comes packaged in an "easy to throw away" newspaper or on TV that doesn't require a lot of work to view or in hundreds of thousands of blogs and web sites, the average consumer doesn't see how hard it is.. or how expensive it is. And doesn't care. It should all be free. Only it isn't cost-free.

And when you open up the comments so they can lob off anything about anything to anyone with impunity, they begin to think that is their right as well. Supporting that takes additional resources.

Journalism will die when consumers quit supporting content by not tolerating ads. Nobody values news. They don't value news because they don't know how hard it is to get until they try. Then they quit because it is hard.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

Ultimately, I'm not at all worried about journalism for larger cities (LA, New York, Chicago, etc.), states and the federal government, as I believe they will eventually be able to support online journalism with advertising; it's smaller cities that concern me.

I think that small-town journalism will come full circle. I am reminded of the ancient TV show, Green Acres, in which Mr. Drucker ran the general store, was the postmaster, justice of the peace, AND published the local newspaper.

For smaller areas - and I'm thinking areas of perhaps 70,000 or fewer people - I think that covering the local news is simply going to be a part-time job for one or two people, supplemented by freelancers. Things may change, but I don't think that at the moment these smaller cities can provide the ad revenue for anything larger.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a follow-on site hoping to pick up on Hopkins' successes, and perhaps that points to the future of this sort of journalism. It is difficult in this era to maintain a blog like this, given that anonymous postings lead to invective, personal attacks and libel. There is a whole community out that that swarms to successful blogs to try and take them down, and I believe Hopkins' success attracted this group of trolls. It distracts from the crowdsourcing idea. I am not a GCI employee, but I was surprised how much of an insight I got into GCI's internal operations by reading this blog.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people are awfully fatalistic about the future of news/information media with traditional values. Just don't forget. Information, often in the form of news, is money, and people are willing to pay money for more exclusive access. Just look at the subscription prices for some of the more esoteric trade publications out there, both in print and online. Add to that the uncanny American knack for making money from innovation, and you've got plenty of reason to believe that someone will come along who will unlock the secret to profitable online journalism and re-invigorate the demand for competent information/news harvesters. And please spare us citations of failed Web ventures. Most new businesses fail. Only the most innovative, best-managed ventures survive.

7:22 AM  
Blogger steven said...

Many traditional journos are concerned about the lack of a "model" that describes what journalism will look like when the technological revolution finally settles down into a relatively stable form, and the necessary adaptations are made to use it. They should be concerned, because that model exists: it's the traditional medieval village market square. Information swirls around from person to person, changing and distorting, in the manner of the "telephone game" used as a teaching aid in so many management seminars.
The "story" itself may originate as relatively objective and carefully considered information, or poorly considered information, or biased information, or malicious gossip, or evil distortion, or government propaganda - it really doesn't matter in the new world of cloud journalism. The only difference between the village square and the brave new world of Twitter, is that the number of people available to distort information is much larger and less isolated by geographical constraints.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always amused at the comments from the people who are just so overjoyed that newspapers and journalists are struggling. So, 95 percent of mainstream journalists are Democratic donors? And you can back that up exactly how? I don't doubt that newsroom journalists slant left in their political views when taken as a whole. But I doubt very much 95 percent are registered Democrats, much less actual donors.

And Gannett Blog was exactly what wouldn't work? Then why did it work? And it worked well on a lot of levels. But while it made Hopkins money, it didn't make a lot of money and the workload -- and the gay-bashing and other comments -- wore him down, it seemed.

BTW, GannettBlog was indeed hyperlocal. Maybe not geographically, but in the sense that it covered just one thing -- one company.

Lastly, multiple biased sources are better because they provide balance? Then what about these talking heads? They really don't come from the same sociopolitical strata with largely the same opinion. The cable news networks seem to think they can roll out a conservative commentator or two and a liberal commentator or two, moderate it with some questions and let them go at it. Well, it certainly provides multiple biased sources, but it doesn't go anywhere toward balance or add anything to the public discourse. It's just noise, which is why I think so many people are disgusted.

The problems are in the business model, not in journalism. There certainly are issued that need to be addressed in journalism, but we also live in a society that cares more about whether Jon and Kate are going to divorce than what the City Council is up to. The news audience shrinks and there's more ways to get news, too, fragmenting the audience further, and the model of delivering mass eyeballs to advertisers becomes unsustainable.

8:10 AM  
Blogger rknil said...

Jim Hopkins nuked his credibility by allowing the cowardly, anonymous posters to attack any number of Gannett people by name. Almost none of the people named was a public figure, so I tend to think he was continually on a slippery slope.

(I realize some fools out there think nothing on the Internet is actionable, but they base this conclusion on shaky premises.)

His blog will not be missed. Speaking of which:

"Meanwhile, my wife and I are making our way with The Batavian."

Thanks, Howard. I know I was hanging on pins and needles as I wondered what you were doing these days.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Walter Abbott said...

I think I shall chime in here since I've commented a few times about the news business.

About a week and a half ago I started a blog with the intent of covering local government - school board, city council, etc.

Coincidentally, an event with potentially large economic impact for Northeast Louisiana occurred. Allegedly, a new auto plant is coming to the area.

Bottom line, its a scam to suck up government tax dollars to build a car that likely hasn't been designed yet. And to reward politically connected types who have made a good living off such things.

But all the "big" media has failed to ask the first probing question. The Gannett crew have been nothing but cheerleaders for the deal.

Edward Willis Scripps would have ferreted out the scam within 15 minutes.

So, first hand I have seen the virtual uselessness of the folks who always tell us they are "watchdogs." The same is true in Baton Rouge. Save a few bloggers and talk radio types, the criminals who occupy the Capitol would be running wild.

I'm very much looking forward to doing the job - and paying for it with my time and gas - that once was done by "journalists."

10:11 AM  
Blogger The Hypervigilant Observer said...

I love Globalpost.com.

I check it daily and link to it often on my Latin American/Eastern Europe news aggregator blog...

http://thehypervigilantobserver.blogspot.com/

I hope Globalpost survives.

But, I seriously doubt it.

I don't see much advertising there...and very few comments posted.

I can't afford to enroll as a exclusive Globalpost "Passport" member but would gladly pay something monthly to keep it going.

Not an option.

I guess we must get used to short life spans for blogs.

Afterall, the NYTimes recently reported that only 5% of ALL blogs created were still active within the last 120 days.

Lex Wadelski
Austin, Texas

11:15 AM  
Anonymous chuckl said...

I'm not sure your example spoke to your premise about hyperlocal. It was more an example about why a blogger didn't make it. But I tend to think hyperlocals won't be successful either. There's not really a revenue model that will support hyperlocal. As far as I can tell, most hyperlocal endeavors are using an NPR type business model, which relies heavily on grants and donations. They don't seem to be attracting much advertising. As a result, they're having a hard time scaling on budgets that are south of $1 million a year. And you can't really run a good news operation for that kind of money. At some point when you're running a labor of love, you run out of love and all you have left is labor unsubsidized.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If a blog for employees of a media company run by a journalist who is leveraging the skills of other journalists can’t make it, then what can?"

A site that attracts an audience that an advertiser would want to reach. Color me shocked that big ad money wasn't flowing to a blog whose audience shared the unifying characteristics of being surly and in danger of becoming unemployed.

1:04 PM  
Blogger 10ksnooker said...

What we need are new journalists, not new outlets. Fire the biased, get back to basics.

Retreading old biased tires is a waste of good money.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

My dream is to be a real journalist--traditional and print.

The stuff I do on my blog is a little less-formal, but I try to stick to grammar and style while I write so I sustain some of its journalistic integrity; if you can say it has any at all.

I know that a lot is kind of dwindling, but I plan on doing what I love to do regardless.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:10am -- "So, 95 percent of mainstream journalists are Democratic donors? And you can back that up exactly how?"

Google is my friend

An analysis of federal records shows that the amount of money journalists contributed so far this election cycle favors Democrats by a 15:1 ratio over Republicans, with $225,563 going to Democrats, only $16,298 to Republicans.

Seems to me this is a major political story. But somehow, the watchdogs of the press missed it.

And journalists wonder why they're losing trust along with readership.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Isaac Yassar said...

I think grassroot-ing can make a journalist having a strong basic and more idealism. Btw "Newsosaur", hmm.. A nice choice of word! I like it, watch out for the ice age!

5:02 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I hate to differ with such cogent analysis of the Democratic leanings of journalists, but can't help but note that almost $242,000 of that money came from TV networks. One is TBS (Turner Broadcasting) which, to my knowledge doesn't have any journalists on staff. Also, FOX was the fourth highest donor source at $40,573. Given the well-known leanings of its leadership I can't help but wonder where that money came from. Fox News is credited with a $1,280 donation which could be a check written by just one of the hundreds or thousands working at that conservative bastion. Still, how much did Fox News send to GOP candidates. Hmmmm, nothing. MSNBC, which doesn't try to hide its skew on the news only chipped in $210 for Dems and matched that with $282 for Republicans. (http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=301702713742569)

Further reading of the "big" story on this donation trend notes that the listed contributions came from 310 individuals on the Dem side vs 30 for the GOP. It also notes that many of these people are likely freelancers since most newsrooms have a policy strictly forbidding employees to donate to any political parties. What's more, 310 people is only about 1 percent of the newspaper journalists who lost their jobs in the past two years (i.e. not a significant portion of the number of working journalists in the United States).

So, in fact, these journos who supposedly depict the slant of the entire industry are not many and are unlikely to actually work in the newsrooms of news organizations. Damning stuff indeed.

Here are some other listed occupations where donations for Obama dramatically overshadowed those for McCain: lawyers, doctors, students, professors and teachers, architects, artists and especially unemployed. Distrust them all. (http://www.neoformix.com/2008/ObamaMcCainDonorOccupations.html)

In which categories did McCain have any edge? Homemakers, executives/CEOs, and self-employed (thanks Joe the Plumber). While I respect homemakers and the self-employed, I don't find the other class of McCain supporters a particularly trustworthy bunch.

Finally, according to the Federal Election Commission, while donations to Obama totaled only double those to McCain across the country the number of donors to Obama was 5 times greater than those for McCain. So, the vast majority of politicly active people in the country leaned left (http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/campaign-donors-survey-women-and-young-people-behind-obamas-small-donor-success-22595.html). What lesson should we learn from that?

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats, Paul, it's nice to see someone actually putting a little research into the feeble claim that journalists aren't biased.

It's late here, so I won't carry on much more for now. But it's also nice to see that Newsosaur allows me to comment. I had assumed that his earlier post, claiming that no more anti-press "rants" would be allowed, would eliminate my comments. It seems I may have been wrong in that assumption.

2:02 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Why don't professional journalists just embrace the new style of media, work with it, and make it their own instead of resisting change and working against their own industry and hopefully not but maybe destroying it????

3:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was about to laugh at your analysis of how those paltry donations, lumped together, somehow proved 95 percent of all mainstream journalists are Democratic donors. Then I read Paul, who pretty much poured cold water all over it. Good work, Paul.

3:14 AM  
Blogger M.J.Y said...

Hi, I stumbled across your blog as it was highlighted in blog of note and to be honest, I'm glad I have found it.
I'm due to graduate this July as a journalist here in the UK, where the local press seems to be in decline due to the increase in the internet for news (it's a question I have to answer on an application form too.)
Your blog provides a great insight not just into journalism in general but journalism 'over the pond' which I'm sure in the long run will also have a drastic affect on how news is reported & presented in the UK.

(doweneedanotherhero.blogspot.com)

3:29 AM  
Blogger Rufius Onager said...

Journalists are starting to get on my nerves. I cant stand getting up every morning to more bad news. I honestly think journalists are paid more to deliver bad news, cos most of the news you hear these days is depressing.
honestly, can't they get out there and find some better things to talk about, that will cheer the world up? Think how much more productive society would be if we werent all so glum about the latest bashing/shooting/terrorist attack.

grrrr!

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Jaye said...

Rufius, what can I say - as an Editor I try my damndest to bring you the best lighthearted news I can make up!

Oh, and the post I was replying to was just to say, I blog (a lot) and I've gone into it expecting it to be fun (which it is) and if I ever ever make any money from it, that'll be a bonus! I think the bloggers like me will be around a good long while yet!

6:28 AM  
Anonymous BlackBerry said...

The fact is, neither grassroots nor journalism will survive if they stand by their own. It is supposed to be communal, co-actions of peers, a DIY with multiple task forces each of which support each other with no authoritative whatsoever (in contrary with one person responsible like your example case).
Just imagine terrorist's recruitment. In case of some members resign, you can always train another. This can work for ages I think.

10:53 AM  
Blogger LoneJester said...

Well, what do you consider yourself? I doubt your making any substantial money with this blog. Check mine out if you got time, but I have to say your site is pretty "proffessional" for being all the way down here (roots). http://jesterway.blogspot.com/
LoneJester

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grassroots journalism better do the job.

Because professional journalism thinks that the death of Michael Jackson is the only event worth covering.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on, Anonymous 1.13 (my favorite Scripture)! Just check out what Huffington Post did. Look at those top stories. "Michael..." -- oh, excuse me, lemme dig for a second. "Michael..." -- hmmm, no. "Michael..." -- darn it. "Autopsy..." -- hey, this looks promising! "Michael..." -- spoke too soon. Never mind!

8:58 AM  
Anonymous wjl said...

Its not necessary that the job be "totally" done by "non-professionals". There simply must be enough done that the professionals begin to recognize the threat to their way of life.

However, even more important is the need to convince our "circles of friends" that a problem exists with the professional media. Some people still believe that the complaints are simply "right wingers" that aren't being coddled.

Both politicians and media will only start getting the message when they find themselves unemployed.

9:38 AM  
Blogger ann e said...

As an education major,I was struck by the realization that all my fellow students really had a passion for what we were doing. I'mattending a privation college and getting loans each year that are equal to what I'll make any of my first ten to fifteen years as a teacher. When hard jobs have low pay, the only people who remain willing to do them are those with the passion to do them well! (Look at the music indusstry and the way it's made pop "musicians" so disgustingly rich..)

3:14 PM  
Blogger Lady P said...

I write a blog for my community, not that I am a journalist(maybe experience will change that), but an impassioned member of my community. We have a growing town of 80,000 and a single paper to cover the news with a weekly publication and a rather feeble online presence. I do it because there is a little bit more that I can add to the dissemination of news that I have contact with on a daily basis.
We recently had a 5 alarm fire, and that galvanized me into writing for the blog even further than before. I overlooked my penchant for "feel good" photos and tried to report the impact the fire had on our downtown.
In 120 days, my blog will still be rolling, my desire to add to the community still present - and all without a paycheck. Because right now, even my less than professional writing is needed. And for whatever reason, I am here to do it.

5:34 PM  
Blogger K. said...

congrats on blog of note...but my condolences regarding the untimely demise of the newspaper...I'll miss it too!

5:54 PM  
Blogger apathyunited said...

oh i get it this whole thingy is a joke. who cares comes to mind. people only care about journalism and the media cause they think theyre supposed to care and think maybe someones looking. hold on i must care yum. people in my experience like to think that theyre smart the problem with this is that im not.sorry fraudlian slip there. Please mr sir approve me funtro

6:09 PM  
Blogger apathyunited said...

why not call your blog reflections of a narcissist? actually dont im going to use it. Your welcome. huffic

6:12 PM  
Blogger belhana said...

thanks

4:47 AM  
Anonymous apih yayan said...

thanks for information, xpress u self keep blogging

7:51 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

I am not fully interpreting the idea of a journalist running the media blog. Media at its peak is only percepted in the ways it wants to be percepted. Any journalist from a small scale job to a large one, has a major goal set, in my opinion. To want to show its listeners what life is really like beyond are stable walls. What is happening in our world not what celebrities are wearing. In my opinion that is what people want to hear the good and sometimes the bad. Thats how any media will grow. Thank you, for the post.

6:40 AM  
Blogger Mario said...

"Professional journalism cannot and will not do the job. Mainstream journalists are 95% Democratic Party donors, and this bias is reflected inn their coverage.

Journalists are no longer trusted, and for good reason."

Would you care to articulate how you know these things? I can save you the time and point out the obvious (you don't), but I don't want to repress your freedom to spout your paranoia-riddled party lines.

11:43 AM  
Blogger California Girl said...

found you through Blogs of Note and glad I did. I have to laugh at the "Anonymous" comments. Why is it these folk are never willing to put their name to their beliefs? Anon # 1 with all the PS's seems to forget the Rush Limbaughs and Michael Savages and Laura Ingrahams who dominate syndicated radio airwaves. Syndication rules nowadays.

I hail from the radio broadcast side of the biz. I spent 28 years in broadcast radio sales, large & small markets. I have watched it's regrettable decline thanks to many reasons, most notably the de- regulation of '96 which gave owners a much larger share and allowed for multiple ownership of many stations within one market. Other reasons such as going public and becoming beholden to shareholders, have weakened the broadcaster's duty which is to serve the public airwaves and service the local market to which they are licensed. The result is a one size fits all format that doesn't suit or fit anyone.

I got out last Fall and went into niche TV broadcast sales. I am saddened by the fall of traditional journalism and radio broadcasting. However, new technologies force us all to evolve and grow and find new and better ways to serve the public. I shall follow your blog with great interst.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is no doubt that times are a changing. now whether these changes are for good or for bad is of course up for interpretation. i personally think that mainstream media has taken a biased slant to attract viewers and readers (one way or the other). ap and reuters will (should!) never die. but the market for local news (whether LOCAL is interpreted as major city [ie boston] or local [ie quincy, suburb of boston] is changing. it is going to happen because of finances. whether or not it SHOULD happen is up to people who care and want more from the news.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mario, you can deny all you like, but the truth is indisputable.

Look at what ABC did just last week -- almost a whole day devoted to Obama, including a two-hour infomercial promoting his healthcare plans. Just to make sure their bias was obvious, ABC rejected any form of opposition expression, even paid ads! Interestingly, the network came last in the ratings that day.

Viewers and readers can see the obvious, especially with the help of Internet critics such as Newsbusters. They are learning not to listen to you, and turning to other sources.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Not sure how to respond to someone who lumps indisputable and truth together and then proves them by pointing to "Newsbusters."

Newsbusters is just one product of the fabled Media Research Center, which is little more than an extreme right wing political action committee masquerading as something scientific. You want to know it's perspective, just Google Rush Limbaugh and Brent Bozell. We all know Rush, but Bozell is the founder of the esteemed MRC. Your internet search will turn up link after to link of gushing praise from the unbiased leader of a media think tank for the biggest far-right talker in the United States.

So while I agree there is some far-left propaganda being spewed on a regular basis in this country I'm not sure how you balance that with far-right garbage. I would hope that most Americans would recognize crap, no matter which side it is coming from.

Here's what's obvious, Mr. Anonymous, you have gone deaf in your left ear. Maybe the entire left side of your brain may be dead. Heck, you are so right oriented I'm surprised you can stay upright long enough to type a post. Still, you are welcome to your opinion -- the constitution guarantees that. But don't expect many here to quietly accept your unbalanced view.

Forgive me for feeding the trolls. Now back to the intelligent discussion.

9:13 PM  
Blogger apathyunited said...

Thank you Paul i assume that was my cue to come on in. American politics and it's relationship with the media seems to be an exaggeration of the same problem elsewhere; where ever you are trusting the media when it comes to politics can be dangerous for those who enjoy free thinking (which these days could be considered an extreme sport. This is not to suggest in anyway that i think for myself i'm just reiterating opinions that i read elsewhere from some possibly dubious news sources.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Mr Paul, you have nothing better than ad hominems to counter evidence. How unsurprising.

I note that you ignored my example of ABC's clear bias in your rant. I suppose that doesn't fit in with The Narrative.

However, with the decline in mainstream media and the rise of grassroots reporting and critique, increasing numbers of Americans are getting the picture. No wonder liberals mourn the demise of their traditional news channels.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Online Barack Obama said...

just as long as reporters get to the point

8:55 PM  
Blogger Anand said...

As an observer from outside, I am based in India, it is interesting to see that there is a discussion around "independent media".

Grassroots journalism can and does work. While it is sustainable, it's impact is more often than not local.

I am optimistic that this will change sooner rather than later.

Grass-roots journalism will need to play a role in ending the vicious cycle of violence in the American occupied territories of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://anand-bala.blogspot.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now, the independent watchdog media are selling access to government officials.

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.

No potential for bias or conflict of interest there!

The grassroots media are the only ones left.

7:58 AM  
Blogger pochp said...

The problem with free reports is that it's done hastily since there will be no editing demanded.
So I don't think quality will improve.

Would you permit me to repost this article at Blogger Writing Group at pochp.blogger?

5:48 PM  

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