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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tools down?

Michael Lenehan at the Chicago Reader has written a fantastic article (via Romanesko on Poynter Online) about real journos downing tools for a year-long strike and letting the rest of the world cope without us. "Let's all relax, let go, and float blissfully in the information-free state (excuse me, I mean free-information state) that our public awaits so eagerly," he says. Hilarious.

While I agree with the sentiment behind the piece and commend the author on speaking out in such a high-profile manner, the various discussions I'm embroiled in across the blog/clogosphere have warned me to tread carefully. I'm coming across some *really* scary opinions.

Take that normally awesome Stowe Boyd at Get Real (it's true - who can wear a beret and still look cool and not be awesome?) - he seems to have lost his mind in the comments to this post. And the folks over at Nokia seem to be continually and blissfully unaware of the mechanism that normally presides over the product review process and protects consumers for willful and unbridled chequebook journalism. And Loic? He doesn't get it at all, but then he's busy filming himself ski down hills on his freebie Nokia phone.

In reality, disgruntled journalists throwing down their metaphorical pens in a huff isn't going to prove anything. At best, after many months of not noticing, people will yearn for some decent, accurate prose and the point will be made.

At worst, nobody will care, information consumption will continue (albeit through consuming shitty information), and the journos will be accused of sour grapes in the face of a dwindling market for their wares.



Blogger David Tebbutt said...

One answer is for professional journalists to do something about it. I consider myself to be one and I've spent over a year engaging deeply with new media of varying kinds. It needs us. If we bring our values to the blogosphere, then people will migrate to us. The trick, as always, is to figure out a way of monetizing our activities. (Sponsorship, fame: brings paying opportunities, respect: ditto, ads - some will do it and get away with it. I'm sure there's more.)
By the way, Stowe has a very good reason for wearing a head covering. The first thing I did when I stumbled across him was to investigate why someone would choose such interesting headwear.

7:56 am  
Blogger Dennis Howlett said...

I'm absolutely comfortable with bringing the values of hackery to the world of bloggery. At least it's unlikely that I'll make the sort of compound error Scoble did the other day in pontificating about MSN and China.

But on the product review side? That's a different story. Much of what I see out there demonstrates a lack of understanding about reviews. What Nokia and others are/will be doing is NO DIFFERENT from sending product to hacks. The difference in this case is that most of the bloggers don't themselves understand how expectations operate inside the vendor community. For me, Nokia has scored a direct hit by tapping into a naivety that gets worked out when those that do understand the issues get their teeth into the game.

I'm just wondering what bloggers will say when the vendors start organising blog trips (as opposed to press trips) to far flung corners of the earth? That'll be fun.

1:03 pm  

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