40 days

May 26th, 2009



This is as good a place as any for this recuperating blogger to get back to his keyboard. 40 days after Tyler Coleman posted a piece which started a maelstrom of Parker bashing, The Wall Street Journal’s David Kesmodel provides his publication’s readers with a synopsis of the transpirings in wine geekdom that took place a month and a half ago.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the article, from a journalistic perspective. It’s just that the topic is over a month old. It’s stale. It’s burned through its cycle.

Prior to my hiatus, I’d written about the emergence of blogging and other on line publications as a medium capable of lightning-fast coverage. Then, Congress held a hearing on the future of journalism.

I’m sure people invested, one way or another, in print journalism would like to emphasize the object lesson of the tortoise and hare story. But there seems to be a very clear resistance to embrace the immediacy and fast pace of on line publication among traditional journalists.

I wonder, at times, if this is a form of journalistic snobbism. Do traditional (print) journalists see themselves somehow above media like blogging? Certainly, there is some negative perception of blogging in the public consciousness.

Then, I wonder if on line publication pushes traditional journalists past a certain comfort zone. Nobody wants to say something that will come back and bite them in the rear end and there may be some sense of a legal, intellectual or journalistic safety net in having a steady stream of assignments and an editor to sign off on the finished pieces.

Yet, I cannot understand what journalistic practices are violated by a medium that allows for real-time coverage of all sorts of topics. Can someone shed some light on this? I’d like to know.

Perhaps, the crux of the matter lies in the main topics of the discussion during the Congressional hearings: Reservations about going all-digital may be rooted in concerns about intellectual property laws and monetizing content. So maybe, in a George Carlin reductionist approach, it’s really just about money.


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3 Responses to “40 days”

  1. John Kelly Says:

    I think you have it right at the end – it really is about the money. All the rest of the hand waving and hand wringing is seems to be attempted justification for why we should pay for it. I think the justification point is well taken, to an extent. A good editor is a godsend. So is a solid research and fact-checking department. Some extremely newsworthy stories take more than 24 hours to uncover, develop and understand properly. Print media have still a worthwhile function. Most are still profitable, but shareholders insist on growth and the slice of the pie for print is shrinking and so they are punished in the market where lack of growth equals failure.

  2. Dylan Says:

    Online is an adjective in addition to a noun. When journalists become online journalists they do not lose something, rather they have gained that very adjective, they have gained a new medium. Content is content wherever you put it, the difference with online is the demand for dialogue. Usually I wouldn’t be able to read story in print and see every reader’s thoughts on the article listed directly below it. The conversations about the article can sometimes outshine the story itself. Yet as far as the standards of the story and how the content is made–the remains the same, it remains journalism, except it’s journalism online.

  3. Thomas Pellechia Says:

    Yes, it takes time for the print media to develop and report a story, but sometimes, like fast food, wolfing it down immediately doesn’t necessarily provide sustenance–or even meat!

    In this case, while the story may have seemed old to some, the WSJ take on it has opened a new wound, especially with RP’s attack-response to it, which he later deleted from the Squire’s forum. Apparently, RP, Squires, and Miller refused to talk with WSJ, but for years now RP has railed against journalists who print ‘hearsay’ and don’t try to get his side of the story.

    The WSJ story also seemed to have been taken more seriously by RP; he posted on ebob new standards for WA critics–oops, independent contractors.

    Also, the WSJ story has helped to create a comedic atmosphere connected with the penchant for censorship shown on ebob.