Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

New media, old media, and the public interest

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just as I’ve finished my post about the likely sad demise of the Bay State Banner here in Boston, something has erupted that’s essentially a food fight between old and new media. Long story short, Ted Diadiun, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reacted to a blogger reacting to a Plain Dealer column by calling bloggers, “a bunch of pipsqueaks out there talking about what the real journalists do.” Predictably, the comment ignited blazing online reaction and won another embattled newspaper no new friends.

Here’s my take, for what it’s worth. Yes, there are plenty of self-serving bloggers with no idea what journalistic ethics are. Or rules of grammar, for that matter. Hacks exist in every field. If you count on the wisdom of the marketplace, you figure--some evidence to the contrary--that the cream will rise to the top and the sludge will eventually sink without a trace.

Meanwhile there are bloggers who are, like me, former print journalists who did not suddenly lose their professional standards when their newspapers downsized out from under them. And there are bloggers (maybe we should dignify them with the name online journalists) who are serious about finding and reporting news in this new forum.

Bottom line is a sense of responsibility to the public. A hissy fit, whether thrown by a blogger or a print journalist may make for fun reading, but it is of no use to readers of anything. Just looks like a bunch of pipsqueaks saying, “the public be damned.”

Meanwhile, consider switching from reading news to reading poetry:

It is difficult
to get the news from poems,
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.
William Carlos Williams

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