Myth No. 6? -Dicussion about journalism without snark
Is it possible to have an intelligent discussion of journalism these days without a heavy dose of snark?
There are times I wonder. Recent exhibit: Mark Luckie's "5 Myths about digital journalism" and Andy Boyle's response "Somebody on the Internet is wrong."
Taken together, I think they make a valuable package of reading - for current journalists and for journalism students - and an excellent stepping-off place for some serious discussions.
Luckie, as I read him, isn't saying, for instance, that journalists shouldn't be familiar with the ins and outs of social media or that they shouldn't be familiar with databases and what they can do. You can't be an effective journalist without knowing something about these things because you must be able to a) gather the necessary material in a form it can be best used and b) discuss intelligently how to use it with those who actually have the expertise.
Boyle provides a counter dose of reality, explaining, for instance, that in
As I said, all worth intelligent and extensive discussion. But
We’ve all heard it before: Twitter, Facebook, online commenting, mobile check-ins and the like are what’s going to save journalism. The truth is nobody knows what’s going to save journalism. Nobody. Not even the social media gurus.
The basic premise of this is flawed, too. Just repeat after me, everyone: NO SINGLE THING IS GOING TO SAVE JOURNALISM. What are people wanting to go back to? A time when one single thing saved journalism? THAT TIME DIDN’T REALLY EXIST (Okay maybe a monopoly in classifieds). But discussion like this is sort of pointless.
Of course social media isn’t going to be THE answer. It’s just one of those things that you can use to help make more people come to your website, which, of course, helps the bottom line. It can also help you brand your product and thus bring more people to your product, whatever it may be.
So let’s all just once and for all stop discussing whether or not it’s worth using social media. Because it is.
But Boyle leaves out the second part of Luckie's post, which is critically important to context. My comment on his site:
Taken together, I think yours and Mark's make a valuable complete package. But I also think you shortchange him on No.2. I don't see him arguing against using social media, but to be intelligent about it. You left out the second part of his post:
"What we do know is that social media can help augment and improve the distribution process of news stories. It also makes news audiences more invested in the development and discussion of news, something that wasn’t possible before the rise of social media. Is this the money-maker that’s going to stem the tide of red ink? That remains to be seen."
In fact, through most of his post, I don't see his arguing against any of that stuff. What I read is someone trying to say let's be intelligent about all this, that too many "truisms" have cropped up that may need just a little leavening.
I think your arguments are good, but your snark is misplaced.
These are important issues. I don't think we have to be ponderous, but a little less snark would sometimes help, too.