I wrote my essay, Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over, in 2005. And it should be over. After all, lots of journalists happily blog, lots of bloggers journalize and everyone is trying to figure out what's sustainable online. But there's something else going on, and I think I've figured out a piece of it: these two Internet types, amateur bloggers and pro journalists, are actually each other's ideal "other."
A big reason they keep struggling with each other lies at the level of psychology, not in the particulars of the disputes and flare-ups that we continue to see online. The relationship is essentially neurotic, on both sides. Bloggers can't let go of Big Daddy media— the towering figure of the MSM — and still be bloggers. Pro journalists, meanwhile, project fears about the Internet and loss of authority onto the figure of the pajama-wearing blogger. This is a construction of their own and a key part of a whole architecture of denial that has weakened in recent years, but far too slowly.
The only way we can finally kill this meme--bloggers vs. journalists--and proceed into a brighter and pro-am future for interactive journalism is to go right at the psychological element in it: the denial, the projection, the neuroses, the narcissism, the grandiosity, the rage, the fears of annihilation: the monsters of the id in the newsroom, and the fantasy of toppling the MSM in the blogosphere. That is what my solo presentation will be about: a tale of the Internet, told through types.
What do you think the future of journalism should look like? As technology enables a new era of both journalism and media business, both are being redefined through new tools and practices. Activists, dissidents and whistleblowers have a global platform for protest, and journalists can tap an unprecedented range and depth of sources. But what are the best models for sharing information and collaborating through the internet? Information may want to be free, but how should it be organised? And what do the mechanisms of networked journalism and collaboration look like?
Journalists, and the organisations they work for, need to incorporate new technologies and adapt the ways they work, breaking down the walls between themselves and readers and placing themselves at the centre of the conversation. What are the limitations of existing tools? How does journalism need to adapt, and how could a network of collaboration help that transformation? What have been the most successful examples of open journalism so far?
As discussion over the neutrality of the internet intensifies, perhaps we should consider a new, non-commercial internet space free from government intervention - a new interpretation of the fourth estate. A digital public space where copyright and collaboration are reinvented. What can journalism and the media learn from successful 'openness' campaigns of the web, of business and open government?
11th–15th March 2011