Blogging, journalism and credibility

Il fenomeno blog è stato spesso ed erroneamente visto in contrapposizione al giornalismo, come se la pulce pensasse di contrapporsi all’elefante che la ospita.

Io penso che il fenomeno di gran lunga più grande, importante e significativo del nostro tempo non sia il blog, ma sia la profonda crisi dell’informazione di massa.

La crisi investe sia la credibilità che il modello economico, e quindi non verrà superata. Questa crisi lascia un enorme spazio vuoto, che io spero verrà riempito dai giornalisti, professionisti o dilettanti non importa, purchè capaci.

Intanto, di credibilità si discute oggi e domani ad Harward, con i migliori cervelli di giornalismo, accademia e blog: qui informazioni sul webcast (comincia alle 16:00 italiane) e sui canali IRC. Il pre-conferenza ha visto molti interventi intelligenti e qualificati. Ti segnalo quello molto acuto di Tom Matrullo, che offre alcune fenomenali domande di stimolo a quella discussione:

1. Which company enjoys more credibility right now: Microsoft or Google? Why?

2. How much of the nightly news of Friday, Jan. 20th was devoted to the Inauguration of President Bush? How much – in terms of percentage of news reporting time – should it have been given?

3. What was the biggest news story of Jan. 20th, 2004? Why? Is “bigger” the same as “most important”? How so or not so?

4. Which of these sources would you trust more on the issue of labor in the US: a) The New York Times, b) Michael Moore, c) The Simpsons? Why?

5. How do genre constraints influence news coverage? What got left out of upbeat celebratory flagwaving coverage on Jan. 20th, 2004?

6. If the venue of this conference were suddenly transported to a bowling alley or tittie bar in Jersey City, would the snap judgments you’ve made about your fellow conferees change? How? Why or why not? Have you read Blink?

7. News professionals: Which is more important to your corporation: to tell a community what of significance is going on in the world, or to grow an audience with disposable income for client-advertisers?

8. Should a reporter/news worker own stock in his own newspaper company or corporate holding company? Should he or she be barred from participation in ownership profits?

9. What sorts of case studies would constructively help comparative discussions of blogs and mainstream media when they address similar terrain? If you carefully compare, say, the Iraq-based blogs of people like Christopher Allbritton, American Soldier, or Salam Pax with the professional journalism of embedded reporters, what are your observations?

10. The web offers the opportunity for news organizations to share public access to primary source documents. Why is this not done more frequently? Why, in fact, do major media rarely link to anything outside their own web presence?

11. What view of the public value and social utility of your news product is implied by putting it behind a moneywall after initial free access?

12. What epistemological aim is served by the persistent manufacture of anxiety? What dramaturgical purpose? What cash flow purpose?