I found this post from a former CNN producer fired for writing a blog to be quite enlightening. I feel very close to this issue. As a student of journalism at Medill, it took me nearly three years to realize that the field of mainstream journalism had lost the appeal it had held for me in my childhood. And at the time (late nineties) smaller news organizations simply didn’t have the reach horsepower to affect the kind of change I believed journalism was all about.
So I found a home studying communications, which is at the root of all journalistic intent. It has been difficult for me to articulate any specific complaint about mainstream journalism, but I have for years felt an overwhelming sense of disappoint with the establishment and the marginalized voices through which it speaks. Pazienza speaks eloquently to this issue and I hope that mainstream media takes note.
This is what social media is about. More than power of the people. Power TO the people. I was quick to dismiss blogs in the early days as well, finding it difficult to imagine they would ever break through the veil of relevance. Moreover, I believed that blogs weren’t the answer to the broken system of credibility and filtering since they seemed simply to do away with these factors. And they have, to a limited degree. But when you look at the statistics it’s hard to believe now that this form of expression isn’t well on its way to revolutionizing all the media channels, and perhaps all corporate attitude and infrastructure for that matter.
The tug of war between mainstream and social media will lead us to something better. They are not at odds, however, and in fact form a symbiosis where each relies upon the other. But I’m not sure either realizes that, or if they do what it will take to admit it. It will take more than rampant adoption by the tech community, who are first out of the gate for any new technological form of expression, and topical nepotism (social media blogs) to break through to the masses. Most of the people in my life aren’t touched by blogs at all, and that’s the simple truth.
It was once the case that journalism had a type of integrity that did require an institution to maintain. But now that institution is built without rules and walls. Society dictates it as a whole. It is etiquette for effective communication rather than self preservation that makes it all work. Let’s see how long this lasts.