Monday, February 9, 2009

With friends like these, who needs enemies

Just when I was about to give Paul Gillin the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the future of newspapers, he comes out with this, lambasting NPR's David Folkenflik for suggesting that city's might be worse off without printed newspapers (what an NPR Luddite). Gillin suggests that if newspapers disappear, the vacuum of civic journalism will be filled elsewhere and decries Folkenflik's suggestion that a Connecticut governor's malfeasance would not have been exposed had the Hartford Courant not paid a journalist to expose it. Gillin just assumes that someone else would have put in the legwork. He offers no examples that the Web, now well over a decade old in ubiquitous usage, could do the same thing. He merely states it could be as a conclusion obvious to those not quite imbecilic. I've been pointed to one or two attempts at investigative journalism on the Web, such as ProPublica. It seems to be focusing its still meager resources on federal issues and linking extensively (surprise, surprise) to REAL newspapers He also mentions Talking Points Memo as "an emerging breed of online news organization." I went there. I found links to ABC and Reuters news stories, an interview with Robert Reich who seems to give interviews to anyone with a lens, and editorializing that was not clearly labeled as such.
If you see a blogger at your local city government meeting, please let me know. I'd be stunned. If you see a blog that involves in-person reporting at a city council, I'd be even more stunned. I do know there are fewer newspaper reporters at those meetings. The only ones happy about that are politicians, because smart bloggers know it means they have fewer links to underpin their editorializing.

By the way. If you want to see the final stages of Web-driven egomania, take look at what BuzzMachine has become. I don't think L.Ron Hubbard was as enamored with Dianetics as Jeff Jarvis seems to be with "What Would Google Do?"

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