The “Old” vs. “New” Media Debate

Jay Rosen does his best at mediating it. First, the things that “disaffected newsroom ‘traditionalists'” get right:

You cannot cut your way to the future. The term “content” is a barbarism that bit by bit devalues what journalists do. Pure aggregation is parasitic on original reporting. Untended, online comment sections have become sewers, protectorates for the deranged, depraved and deluded. That we have fewer eyes on power, fewer journalists at the capital or city hall watching what goes on, almost guarantees that there will be more corruption. Bloggers and citizen journalists cannot fill the gap.

I agree, unless we can find an economic model that can build up blogs’ staffs so they can begin to hire reporters. Then we may be onto something. That’s one of our long term goals here at the Dish –  but we can only get there if you become a member and help. The subscribe button – hint, hint – is at the top right hand corner of the page.  But the “traditionalists” get a lot of things wrong, too:

Listening to demand is smart journalism, so is giving people what they have no way to demand because they don’t know about it yet. If you are good at one, the other goes better. “Do what you do best and link to the rest” isn’t a slogan, it’s your only hope for comprehensive coverage. … In the aggregate, the users know more than you do about most things. They are in many more places than you can be. They also help distribute your stuff. Therefore talking with them is basic to your job.

The latter seems under-valued to me – and partly because of comments sections’ signal to noise ratio. Hence our decision to spend a great deal of time and attention on our email in-tray, and to integrate your knowledge of the world into the Dish’s content.