“Like those yucky strings of poo sometimes seen dangling from goldfish”

A nice contrast to blog evangelism: PC Pro’s Dick Pountain on why he doesn’t blog, and why he thinks blogs are bad for writing.

Publishers, being straightforward capitalists, have a duty to maximise their profits, and one way to do this is to pay writers less or pay fewer writers. To them, the blogosphere is starting to look like a huge open-cast mine of free copy, and the fact that it’s neither researched nor necessarily true is beside the point: that just means they can fire the research department too…

Lacking any quality control mechanism, blogs easily sink into a Hobbesian state of nature – rule by the loudest and the nastiest.

3 thoughts on ““Like those yucky strings of poo sometimes seen dangling from goldfish”

  1. Squander Two says:

    He’d be right if it weren’t for the large number of well-publicised cases of professional traditional journalists failing to do any bloody research whatsoever and publishing any old bullshit they feel like, even on important issues like, you know, war and stuff. And it’s invariably been bloggers bringing those cases to light, after properly researching them.

    One can reasonably argue that the traditional media shot themselves in the foot and did a lot to destroy public trust in their own industry, thereby helping to bring about the current situation where, yes, a lot of ill-informed and badly written shite is probably going to become dead popular and some proper journalists are going to find it harder to find work because some of their colleagues spoilt the whole profession’s reputation. But to ignore all that and simply blame bloggers for being ill-informed is either blinkered or dishonest.

    Dan Rather is not out of work because bloggers are loud or nasty or because their copy is free. He’s out of work because bloggers did better research than CBS. I say “better”: it appears that CBS did none. And large numbers of Americans have stopped trusting professional news outlets for the same reason. The UK’s a few years behind. Our media can learn the lessons and crack down on their own practices before the same thing happens to them, or they can whinge about how bloggers simply don’t come up to their professional standards right up to the moment they get caught out.

    I’m amazed it’s not happened already, to be honest. There’ve been a handful of professional news stories revealed to be bullshit, but luckily for the reporters they’ve been anti-American bullshit, and the British public will always forgive that.

  2. Gary says:

    Well, of course it’s a polemic rather than a fair-handed argument, and of course you’re right about bloggers fact-checking in a way some media doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean he’s wrong either.

    > The UK’s a few years behind. Our media can learn the lessons and crack down on their own practices before the same thing happens to them

    Indeed. There’s an excellent argument (forget where I read it) suggesting that part of the problem is that news media in general has forgotten its mission to inform, and has become about entertainment instead.

  3. Squander Two says:

    Well, that’s partly it. But I think a bigger problem has been that they’ve decided their job is to influence rather than inform — usually with the best of intentions. The entertainment I don’t mind. Page 3 ain’t about to bring down a government; it’s Page 1 that’s the problem.

    And they also seem to have decided that it’s more important to keep reporting than to report accurately: witness both CNN and Channel 4 admitting to sitting on stories from inside Iraq because if they reported them they’d be chucked out by Saddam and then they wouldn’t be able to report the news any more. I’ve still not figured out the reasoning behind that one. Joel Soler got it right: get in, schmooze, get the hell out, make an accurate report, go into hiding. Brave man, sure, but, if you’re not willing to do that, what are you doing filming a psychotic totalitarian despot in the first place? Take the job as gardening correspondent.

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