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Ian Betteridge

Thank you for characterising me as "a troll" simply because I disagree with Dave. It's that kind of intelligent contribution to a debate that makes reading blogs so worthwhile. You complain about the qualities of journalism and journalists, then start off your own post with a personal insult. Well done! So much for bloggers giving you better quality, eh?

No one's talking about heroic journalists, here. I'm simply talking about the fact that, like any craft, journalism takes time to learn - and the best results are usually done by professionals, not amatuers.

We do indeed have DIY carpenters, and some of them are great. And, like "citizen journalists", they're something to be encouraged - more people getting involved in any craft is good.

But at the end of the day, who do you buy your furniture from? I'd bet you don't make it all yourself, or buy from DIYers.


I think you're still unclear on the concept. Why would you ask me how much furniture I buy from DIYers instead of asking me how much I make myself?

Ian Betteridge

Either is fine. But remember that most people are consumers of many things and producers of few things. And there's a reason for that: specialisation of skills produces higher quality goods.

Spend eight hours a day on something - ie make it your living - and you should be better at it than someone who spends two hours a week at the weekends. If that's not true, then you're in the wrong line of business. And that's true for any craft, whether it's carpentry, coding - or journalism.


Imagine a spectrum of professions, ranging from fields that depend on high skill to fields which are essentially information brokering. The further a field is toward the latter, the more it will be destroyed. Carpentry and software design tend toward the former, travel agency and music industry tend toward the latter. I view journalism as tending toward the latter as well for two reasons. First, newspaper revenue is based heavily on classified advertisements, which are being destroyed by Craig's list. Secondly, I find journalists add precious little value when first-person accounts are available, which they are increasingly. Even citizen journalism is an unnecessary encumbrance when the subjects have the ability to speak for themselves, and my favorite bloggers are able to provide analysis and context.

The main function of journalism was information distribution, and editorial decision-making selecting which stories were sent along the scarce distribution channels. Obsolete.

Ian Betteridge

What on earth has the means of funding journalism in old-media models (classified ads - not universally true, by the way) have to do with the profession of journalism itself?

I can't really argue with your second point - that journalism = information gathering - because it simply seems that you've made up your mind that this is what it is. I can happily tell you with 13 years of actually doing journalism that it's not, and give you a list of what's involved in researching, checking and creating a story, but I have a feeling that you simply won't believe me or will avoid the point.

After all, I've written plenty on this before and somehow - despite the perfect distribution media that you seem to think the internet is - you seem to have missed it.

Perhaps you could do a little journalism, and find a point of view that *doesn't* agree with your own? :)

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