Watch and listen to BBC News

We Media Blog

Global forum 3 - 4 May, London

Don't fear the blogger

  • Alfred Hermida
  • 3 May 06, 04:57 PM

The discussion on citizen journalism at the We Media forum has stirred up opinions among some of the bloggers here. Throughout the discussion, there was a real sense of them and us. In this case, the them are bloggers and the us are the mainstream media.

Neha Viswanathan, part of the Global Voices network, has captured this defensiveness in her post. For her, it is not an us vs them.

As she writes: "It’s sad if journalism as a profession feels threatened by citizen journalism. But if it makes them clean up their act - Oh! Why not? It is unfortunate that people who support citizen journalism have to feel so defensive in a forum that was supposed to engage the two camps. I feel like they’ve divided them up even further."

There is no denying that big media organisations are still uneasy with the idea of blogs. As my friend Kevin Anderson explains in this post: "I get the feeling that some of us in large media organisations want citizen journalists’ content but they don’t want the messiness of the blogosphere. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. It’s messy out there."

sambrook02_203.jpgHowever there seem to be some people who "get" the We Media idea.

This is what the BBC's director of global news Richard Sambrook told the conference: "We easily get trapped in either/or mindset: Mainstream vs bloggers. Get over it. We live in a remixed mash-up world."

This is the way of the world now and there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 02:30 AM on 04 May 2006,
  • eAi wrote:

Who's ideas was the "Digital Assassins" thing, it appeared really demeaning to these people who were brought in to be "prodded" (as the presenter said) by these media people. If I were in their shoes I'd be really annoyed. Why do people need to be "branded" in such a way? What makes these people "Assassins"? I thought the whole "conversation" was about looking at how the two sides can work together, not how one is trying to "assassinate" the other. The rest of the (more mature) discussion was much better, I enjoyed watching most of the day over the net - something you should do again.

The presenter (from Click?) who "presented" that segment is clearly used to "talking down" to people about technology. Clearly there's a need for it, but in the circumstance he was in it was really odd.

The point raised right at the end of one segment about how there's this tendency to collectively talk about blogs as if they're a unified organization was one of the most valuable points to take away. People loved throwing around comments like "There's 50 million blogs" out there. As we know, 90-99% of them are useless and self-indulgent. Its the remaining percentage that are really interesting and should be looked at. No, people shouldn't trust "blogs" more than "the media", but they could trust one blog (e.g. they could trust a policeman's blog on things relating to the police, or a blog from someone in an earthquake). They may not be factually correct, but you can still trust that they're telling the truth as they see it (another point that someone made).

All in all, people need to stop generalising about blogs, equally, to stop generalising about the media. Innovation is the key, the rest will come naturally over time.

Complain about this post

Post a complaint

Please note Name and E-mail are required.

Required
Required (not displayed)
 

What is happening now in journalism has already occurred in both recorded music and filmed entertainment. In the past large companies controlled the production and distribution of music and films. With the availability of low cost production methods it seems that everyone has become a musician and/or filmmaker. Now we are now flooded with content and much of it is crap. There are now thousands of film festivals around the world, yet try watching all the films entered. If someone doesn't sift, edit, select or programme the content it is mind numbingly useless. Journalism like other media has a hierarchy and some sort of standards and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Just because I own the utensils to express myself doesn't mean I have anything worth saying. How many ranting podcasts or rambling blogs can one person absorb in one week? Time is now the commodity in shortest supply.
I celebrate choice but I revel in quality.

Complain about this post

Post a complaint

Please note Name and E-mail are required.

Required
Required (not displayed)
 

I can only agree with the last message. We are living through a major cheat. Too many of us can't tell the difference between 'expression' and 'communication'. We are continually compelled to express ourselves (as our 'right'). However, this isn't communication in a meaningful sense...As for the blog phenomenon, just look atthe BBC attempting to take the high ground...just another form of cultural appropriation which we should be used to by now...with hollywood stars having the platform to say the obvious ans if it's news...

Complain about this post

Post a complaint

Please note Name and E-mail are required.

Required
Required (not displayed)
 

Transitions are always interesting.

Right now, we are seeing the growth of blogs and blogging. In some ways perhaps it is a fad, not unlike CB Radio in the 1970s in North America.

There are some who might feel the sheer volume of material now open to find on the Internet and on the blogsphere is overwhelming. In some ways, it is overwhelming.

However it requires the reader to dig a little deeper, discover what is fact, and what is fiction.

The mainstream media does not own the exclusive franchise on uncovering truth.

Often stories start on the blogsphere, and run Internet wise for weeks, then are "scooped" by the mainstream press.

Today's developing media requires the viewer, reader or listener to use common sense in gathering news sources which they will trust.

Contrasted to the alternative, I prefer the requirement to decide for myself.

James

Complain about this post

Post a complaint

Please note Name and E-mail are required.

Required
Required (not displayed)
 

Post a comment

Please note Name and E-mail are required.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

Required
Required (not displayed)
 
    

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

BBC.co.uk