Journalists vs Bloggers

The underlying themes of the recent Future of Media and PubCamp seems to be Journalists vs Bloggers, as ilustrated by posts by Stephen, Stilgherrian and others.

Seriously old media types, this story is over 10 years old. New media has been making inroads in old media well before then.

Want a good example, 10 years ago I used to write for a local music website, today you would call it a blog, a few passionate people covering the local music industry. Which covered news and reviews and was widely read by local music fans and industry heavyweights. Our competition was a weekly music liftout in the only daily mainstream newspaper The West Australian, the weekly street press Xpress, a weekly radio show on a couple of the community stations and that was about it. The student press covered gigs, a couple of print fanzines and a couple of web sites but nothing on a regular basis.

The powers that be at The West Australian did not consider the Perth music industry worthy of investing resources in. They rarely reviewed local bands, the only news they carried news that came through press releases and at one stage decided that the liftout was not returning enough revenue and stop producing it.

Xpress was run on a shoestring budget, the news depended on press releases and if the editor went out the weekend before and talked to people. The reviewers were paid a pittance (I know I was offered a job reviewing for them) and the quality of some of their reporting was questionable. One of my favourite reviews of one my favourite bands, mentioned how great two songs they played. However, the review I wrote, mentioned the same two songs, as songs they did not play, because a guitar string broke on one song and the other was on the play list, but not played as the band ran out of time.

The local music news on two community radio stations was provided by passionate amateurs, but it was the best source of news. I know because the blog team provided it to one stations and my friends did the other station. It was the best source for news because the people who reported the news, where out talking to people finding out what was happening, checking sources and reporting.

Passionate amateurs whether they are working for old media or new media, who care about the subject and take the time to talk people are always going to better, than a professional with limited resources who relies on press releases.

The other exception, I take with this Journalists vs Bloggers dispute, is that old media types value the work I did for the student press, street press, newstand magazines and even press releases I wrote appearing word for word in newspapers are more important than anything I wrote for a blog.

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