“Shall we go back to letting the printers carry swords so that we can succeed by killing off the competition”.
My favourite line of the day!
But whether it was the BBC’s funding, or the emergence of new sources of news and information such as blogs, there was often a noticeable undercurrent in some journalistic quarters that local journalism was under attack from ‘others’ who provide content for free, threatened in some way which required some intervention from who-knows-where to prevent it being snuffed out.
There was talk about whether there’s ethical issues which need to be considered for those going into ‘competition’ with local newspapers, whether bloggers were more interested in their own profiles than providing news and, yet again, the role of the citizen journalist (a familiar subject on this blog).
Is what ‘they’ do journalism? How is it evaluated? Who makes that judgement? etc. etc.
Personally, I find this an outdated debate but I fear it will go round-and-round until the idea that people can have a ‘virtual life’ and a ‘real’ one as two separate things is finally, belatedly put to rest.
And I found it fairly surprising that some of the same people who’d given up a Thursday to talk about the future, about entrepreneurship, multimedia and social platforms, the very same people who had been welcomed to the event in the morning as”spaghetti throwers” – still get hung up on this.
Is it because local bloggers aren’t paid to publish their work? Does that perhaps lead to a mistrust of their motives?
I will undoubtedly try to unpick some of the issues which underly this fear in future posts (so any help via the comments would be much appreciated), but for now I’ll end with the thoughts of Philip John, who also took part today.
The technical whizz behind the Lichfied Blog may have said it quietly, but it was a point put firmly – he doesn’t want to be a journalist, he simply wants to be part of something which serves his local community.