And so we know they're journalism-- sometimes. They're even capable, at times, and perhaps only in special circumstances, of beating Big Journalism at its own game. ... The question now isn't whether blogs can be journalism. They can be, sometimes. It isn't whether bloggers "are" journalists. They apparently are, sometimes. We have to ask different questions now because events have moved the story forward. By "events" I mean things on the surface we can see ... and things underneath that we have yet to discern.
I have been an observer and critic of the American press for 19 years. In that stretch there has never been a time so unsettled. More is up for grabs than has ever been up for grabs since I started my watch. ... For this is an exciting time in journalism. Part of the reason is the extension of "the press" to the people we have traditionally called the public.
By the press I mean the public service franchise in journalism, where the writers and do-ers of it actually are. That press has shifted social location. Much of it is still based in The Media (a business) and will be for some time, but some is in nonprofits, and some of the franchise ("the press") is now in public hands because of the Web, the weblog and other forms of citizen media. Naturally our ideas about it are going to change. The franchise is being enlarged.
I was invited to participate in a local discussion of this very topic next week; unfortunately I'll be out of town. But the conversation has been going on, in various contexts, for quite awhile.
About twenty years ago the CEO of a large media company I worked for referred to it as "bypass". He used the word to refer to the ability of advertisers to reach their consumers without going through the middleman; that being the magazines and newspapers his company published and the television stations and media production companies who also relied on advertising for their livelihood. He was -- is -- a prescient man, but he never foresaw the impact of the Web on his newsrooms.
And so as the definition of media transmogrifies -- I selected that word specifically as a tip of the hat to Jeff Gannon and Talon News -- some still have questions about our official uniforms.
That judge needs to be reminded that pajamas are actually the latest in courtroom attire.