Friday, January 21, 2005

Jay Rosen: Why the Bloggers vs. Journalists War is Over

Jay Rosen offered what he called a "peacemaking document" as well as a "troublemaking document."

"The war between journalists and bloggers... the cartoon dialogue... is over," he said. "It doesn't mean we're not going to fight any more.... The tension will go on between the two. But we ought not to see these things as enemies or opposites... but if we look at the way the tsunami story was covered by independent journalists.

"There has been, and there is right now, a power-shift right now, from the producers of media to the people formally known as the audience," Rosen continued. "Mostly because of the Internet.... This has led to a loss of sovereignty by the press... a loss of exclusive control. You are not the boss anymore; what you say is no longer the law."

"Because of this loss, A lot of pressure is being put on journalism's mainstream ideas...." he continued. "Objectivity as a touchstone is faltering... and this is a part of the intellectual crisis."

"Blogging is very well adapted to the world where the shift in power is taking place.... where there are many centers of sovereignty.... Blogging is not only well adapted, but organic to the World Wide Web."

"Blogging and journalism live in a shared media space," he quoted Rebecca Blood, "And nobody is leaving this pace... Bloggers and journalists are now competing for attention."

"The press is separating from this other big institution called the media and is moving about in social space. So a lot of the press today is not based in the media... It's based in the nonprofit world... And some of the press is now in public hands. So while the press and the media once overlapped almost completely, now the press... has shifted. The nonprofit world owns a piece of it; people involved in politics own a piece; and the public owns a piece of it."

"The ideas that gave birth to professional journalism... were in fact an artifact of a one-to-many world. They were built for a media platform that is slowly disentegrating."

Rosen wrapped up with two points. "Journalists have been slow to understand why they owe a debt to web logs and bloggers... The people who are developing the Web as a world for journalism are bloggers.... They are independent authors and writers and bloggers. If you look at 'news as conversation,' the people who are putting it into place are bloggers."

Rosen then noted that the majority of NY Times readers were online readers as of 2002, yet NY Times staff see themselves as writing for a paper that happens to have an online presence. Journalism "hasn't adapted to the new world they live in."

"Actually, they're writing for an online newspaper that happens to have a print edition."


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