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My Job and Welcome to It

By Dan Tynan

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the death of journalism at the hands of Google. That’s an oversimplification, but when you boil it down it’s really what’s left. Newspapers and print magazines are dying. I know this first hand, because many of my friends and colleagues have lost their jobs, and I have lost some well-paying regular gigs as a result of cost-cutting at national magazines. (We’re still doing just fine though, thanks for asking.)

The newspapers’ and magazines’ online equivalents really aren’t picking up the slack in terms of ad revenue; even the ones that have survived so far have been forced to cut way back on editorial. And the worst is yet to come.

Many publishers blame news aggregators like Google, which not only make it easy to read news published anywhere for free, but also help drive traffic to secondary sources that do no news gathering on their own – essentially, bloggers and other aggregators who publish secondhand accounts. They are what I like to call Repeaters not Reporters (RnR). All told, they tend to draw far more traffic in aggregate than the original sources of these stories.

Meanwhile, the Web cognoscenti are pointing fingers back at print media, saying they screwed the pooch five years ago, and to hell with them. Some suggest that journalists are no longer necessary; others say a new type of journalist will rise to take their place, though exactly what they’ll look like is a mystery. There’s a whole lot of pompous windbagging and name calling going on; it’s like a playground full of five year olds out there. And, sometimes, I’m one of them.

What gets under my skin are the comments that invariably accompany these screeds about the future/death of journalism. It’s amazing to me how many people out there firmly believe they know how to do my job better than I do, despite the fact they have no idea what I actually do. So I thought I’d try explaining what I do, and how it’s changed as a result of the blogosphere, in an effort to clear up some misconceptions and, hopefully, shut some people up.

[More after the Jump]

But first there are two things I need to get off my chest.

1. Just because you know how to operate a keyboard doesn’t make you a writer.

2. Just because you know your way around a WordPress template doesn’t make you a reporter.

Thanks, I feel much better now.

Of course, there are plenty of professional journalists who suck at one or both of these things (I know, because I’ve worked with a lot of them). And there are amateur bloggers who are fine writers and/or skilled reporters. But, by and large, the majority of professionals do know what they’re doing, and the overwhelming majority of amateurs are just that.

(The big exception: experts who blog about their particular specialties. More on that in a bit.)

These days I typically write two kinds of stories. The reported story, and the re-reported story. Let’s take the first type. Say I get an assignment to write a 2500-word original story about a particular topic. Not breaking news, but a feature that involves talking to multiple experts. I will typically take three to four weeks to work on this story — a few hours here, a few hours there, and a whole bunch of hours right before the deadline.

I’ll start by looking for sources, usually by posting a query on a handful of sites that match reporters to sources, typically via their PR people. More and more I also post queries to Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In, as well as email people I know who might have information or leads for me. I might scour Amazon looking for book authors who’ve written on the subject. And I search for blogs written by people knowledgeable on the topic.

At the end of this process I usually have a list of 20 to 30 people who’d be willing to talk to me. Some provide a lot of info via email, but more often I need to set up a phone interview. For a feature this size I’d typically interview 8 to 12 people; so let’s say I talk to 10 of them, at roughly 30 minutes each.

I’ll also go through the emails to glean information, and follow up with my interviewees on things I’m unclear on. I’ll likely visit at least two dozen Web sites – sometimes a lot more than that — reading other stories written about the topic. And then, when I feel like I’ve gotten a well-rounded picture of the key issues I’m talking about, I’ll write it, synthesizing what I’ve learned into what I hope is a coherent whole. If I’ve talked to 10 people, I’ll generally end up quoting six to eight of them. (I try to quote everyone, because they’ve generously donated their time, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Sorry folks, thems the breaks.)

Most of the time I’ll go back to my sources and double check my quotes, to make sure I haven’t screwed anything up. Then I’ll file this story to my editor. He or she will typically kick it back to me with suggestions for revisions; thankfully, most of the time they’re minor. And then it either winds its way slowly through the editorial machine into print, or it gets posted a few days later on line. These days, 90 percent of what I write is published strictly online. Last year at this time I’d say that mix was closer to 50 percent.

From there, well, it’s the wild wild west. The publisher I write most often for, IDG, has what you might call a generous syndication system (generous to itself, not to authors). Pretty much anything written for any IDG publication is fair game for all. So if I write something for InfoWorld or PC World, it’s very likely to show up on the Web sites of Computerworld, Networkworld, the Industry Standard, CIO, ITworld, Macworld, etc., all of which are owned by IDG. It will also show up in some of the foreign language versions of all of those sites owned by IDG. It may appear on third-party sites where IDG has syndication agreements – which include Yahoo News, MSN, ABCnews.com, Entrepreneur, Washingtonpost.com, and many more.

It may get firehosed on Slashdot, dugg on Digg, Stumbled Upon, Propellered, Farked, ad nauseum, all of which are great for traffic (though often not for the site where the story was originally published, but one of the sites that syndicated it).

And, of course, the blogosphere may pick it up. Kind-hearted conscientious bloggers will write a one paragraph summary and link to the story, citing the source where they found it (though not necessarily the original source). Some will add their own commentary or expertise, though this is pretty rare. Others will lift the story wholesale, but retain my byline and some notion of where they originally found the story. And some evil bloggers will lift the content and claim it as their own, the bastards.

From all of this I get exactly bupkis. Oh, there’s added exposure I suppose. I do always put a link to my own blog (Tynan on Tech) in the bio, and sometimes I see a small traffic spike. But really, the benefit to me personally is next to nil.

The problem here is the publication that originally assigned me the story – and paid me a decent word rate to do it – isn’t getting any benefit from most of this traffic either. It may not even be getting the most traffic of all the sites who carry it. There’s certainly no guarantee Google will rank it as the top source for this particular story or even among the top 10 sources.

(I should add that I practically live on Google News and could not do my job without it. I just have serious problems with Google’s algorithms and its lack of transparency. I think Google needs to fix this problem. Content creators should get first priority in page rankings. Period.)

Popular blogs that do nothing but write a quick summary and link to the original may end up getting more traffic – and by extension more ad revenue — than the folks who paid me to do it.

This is fucked up.

Worse, the bloggers who summarize and link (or steal outright) would be unable to produce this kind of story on their own. Sure, some could. But most of them a) would never get the assignment in the first place, or b) would screw it up. They certainly wouldn’t do the amount and depth of research I typically do. If they did, they wouldn’t have the time to write all those other blog entries.

Without the original publication that was willing to pay me and others like me a decent wage to do the reporting and writing, these blogs would have nothing to say. They would either have to become actual reporters or disappear.

Most likely these blogs would become repositories for press releases, because corporations will always have money to churn out content. If you scan the 10,347,219 gadget blogs out there, for example, you’ll see very little hands-on reporting, and a whole lot of me-too-ing — the same lists of specs, the same photos and little else. It’s straight out of a press release or the vendor’s Web page. I’m not sure what kind of value these sites provide, yet some get huge traffic.

I do not see many blogs out there doing real reporting on a regular basis. I don’t see most of them growing into it either. There are a handful of examples of crowd-sourced stories – where a bunch of amateur bloggers ganged up and did some really good collective work. (See Rathergate and the Jeff Gannon story for examples.) But they are very few and far between. In my experience, the bloggers who do good reporting are in fact trained reporters who left print to join the Interwebs.

Now, I also write another kind of story – what is typically a backwards-looking list story. Like the 25 worst tech products of all time, the 16 greatest moments in Web history, the 12 most embarrassing photos, yadda yadda yadda. These stories don’t pay nearly as well as the other kind, but they’re fun and easy to write. I almost never interview anyone for these, though I do ask people for suggestions, and I rely almost entirely on published accounts. (But I look at a lot of published accounts, and try to make sure my piece is factually accurate.)

All of this information is already out there in some form. It’s not original reporting per se, but I organize it, apply my knowledge and skill, and try to bring an original slant. In other words, I’m not just repeating, I’m using existing sources to create something new.

What’s notable about these stories is a) they’re cheaper to produce, and b) can generate huge traffic. Which means that these are the kinds of stories you’re more likely to see in the future, because low cost/high traffic is Valhalla to publishers these days. This ultimately isn’t a good thing for anyone, especially me. Eventually I’m going to run out of lists.

Now there are some (notably Dave Winer) who say journalists will disappear and be replaced by sources. In other words, why should anyone bothering reading my story when they can go directly to the 8 or 12 people I interviewed, or 8 or 12 others of their own choosing? Why let me or my editors be the filter?

My response is, why shop at the grocery store? Why not hunt and kill your own food? All you need is a gun and a hunting license. Why not farm your own vegetables or, for that matter, build your own cars? All you need are tillable land and the right parts (though you’d need someone to make those, I suppose). Why not write your own software code – there’s plenty out there for the tweaking. Why rely on professionals for anything?

The answer? Because most of us are lousy shots. We don’t know how to raise our own food or hoist an engine block. We’re not coders and don’t want to be. Because there is a difference between amateurs and professionals, and it is easier and faster to rely on people who already know how to do these things.

Experts who write blogs add enormously to our understanding of particular issues. They’re invaluable to what I do, certainly. But they’re not a replacement for – yes, folks like me – who gather information and synthesize it from a wide range of sources. Because there is not enough time in the world to read everything written by everybody about everything.

Jason Pontin, EIC of Technology Review, recently offered up a wonkish prescription on How to Save Media. It essentially boils down to fewer publications charging more for some kinds of content, and a lot fewer people like me.

Some of my colleagues will find success as bloggers. Many more will try and fail, because success in blogging depends more on marketing than on producing quality content. The rest will become bartenders or go over to the dark side and spend their twilight years churning out press releases, which will then be regurgitated by the blogosphere.

Unless you only care about one or two topics in your life, you need generalists who can give you the world in 60 seconds, or 6 pages, or however long you have time for. You need people like me. Whether you like it or not.

FYI, I’m an award-winning journalist who’s been an editor in chief and an executive editor at major national publications; as a freelance writer I’ve been published in/on more than 60 magazines and Web sites, including some you may have actually read.

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, not of TynanWood Inc. or its smarter, better-looking half. Feel fee to share this with others, but please don’t steal.

Comments

  1. Ann Garrison says:

    Not all blogging is derivative, far from it, and, I read so much press release journalism, every single day, and have for so long now, that it’s a little late to worry about “real” journalism as we once knew them. I’ve gotten on the Web and watched the same press release roll across the country, from one newspaper to another and land in the NY Times, published in every one as a feature story. And, then traced it back to the original press release, word for word. Exact.

    A few years ago I was working on a press release with a member of the San Francisco Green Party, for the first time, and he showed me how it’s done these days. You put in a line at the top that says:

    (Your byline here.)

  2. Kieran says:

    Very well written, of course, with salient points (although I think blaming bloggers for passing on information is equivalent to blaming people talking in a pub about the news. It’s human to pass on stories, whether online or offline, and most bloggers do give credit and are not pretending in the slightest to be journalists). Sadly, you don’t answer the big question – how can the quality journalists we have generate enough income to keep doing the work they’re doing with print media in decline and online content free? There must be an answer out there somewhere, and I can only hope it’s found sooner rather than later.

  3. aperobot says:

    also of note: bloggers have become accustomed to the fact that it’s easy to change posts after they’ve been published, sometimes without making note of those changes in subsequent updates. in the print world, of course, that was never an option. due diligence was a necessity, or else embarrassing corrections / retractions would need to be printed.

    sadly, due diligence and the kind of reporting you describe in your piece are all but dead in the online world. the emphasis is on being “first” with what amounts to a rumor, press-release write-up, or pure speculation. what’s more, the combination of reader ADD and the non-stop flow of information online, from so many difference sources, mean that responsible corrections and culpability for factual errors or noting updates are also a thing of the past. errors can be deleted without a trace, and sloppy reporting is forgotten as soon as the next “apple is buying twitter” rumor hits the pipes.

    for the most part, blogging : journalism :: guitar hero : actually being able to play the guitar.

  4. [...] friend Tim just sent this link around, with the comment: “Hands down, THE BEST breakdown of journalism vs. ‘new media’ I have ever read.” Go Dan Tynan! Plus, he gets points for using “pompous [...]

  5. Maria says:

    Thank you for writing this.

    I’m also a writer (although not a journalist) and a blogger. I understand what goes into writing a well-researched article or book and the frustrations of having my online work stolen or scraped. I blog about it and whine about it on Twitter and elsewhere. I think it’s important for writing professionals to speak up about the value of what they do and the fact that it’s getting harder and harder to make a decent living doing it.

    What will they read when we’re all gone? How will they get unbiased information to make decisions without talented journalists (like you) digging to get the facts? How will they learn without experienced how-to writers (like me) to teach them?

    Anyway, best wishes to you. I hope a lot of people read and understand the significance of what you’ve written here.

  6. elsa says:

    What a pleasure to read.

    Aperobot’s analogy is apt.

    Passing along…

  7. dantynan says:

    and I can’t even play guitar hero, so I must really suck.

    thanx for all the comments. some quick responses:

    - yes, PR regurg is also all too common in the ‘journalism’ world too. thanx for pointing that out, ann. and yes, some really good reporting is done by blogs (but really, it’s a fraction of a percent of the total).

    - I don’t really blame bloggers (well, except the ones who steal my shit). I do blame google and, in this instance, IDG for buttering my stuff all over the net even more than it usually is.

    - apparently I misused the word ‘hopefully.’ hopefully one day I will learn how to use it correctly.

    peace,

    dt

  8. Stephen Hunt says:

    I’m with you Tynan – I wrote an article about the death of Starlog magazine at http://www.sfcrowsnest.com/news/arc/2009/nz13799.php (called ‘StarLog magazine folds: the last days of Rome for print sci-fi magazines’), which touched on many of the same issues… and got called a luddite for expressing pretty much the same views as you.

    We can’t all comment on each other’s work without someone doing the legwork to start with.

    Google is sadly frakked now. People that steal my content three times down the chain often get better traffic than my original content.

    Ho hum.

  9. Dave Winer says:

    It’s more like making your own travel arrangements than it is like hunting.

    Also, you misstate my point of view. We all agree I think that there are fewer reporters, and likely will be even fewer. What I say is that we will deal with it somehow, as we already have.

    Further as I read your piece about what happens to your stories, the same thing happens to mine, and it sucks. And no one pays me anything for any of what I write and if I want to review a product I have to buy it, and guys like you quote me incorrectly to boot.

    But keep writing stuff like this, eventually it’ll straighten out.

  10. Benjamin says:

    No need for debate here. Perfect article written at the perfect time. Who’s your source?

  11. Rod K says:

    You said: “Some of my colleagues will find success as bloggers. Many more will try and fail, because success in blogging depends more on marketing than on producing quality content.”

    I think that the idea that you can market poor quality content and be successful is wrong. Over the years I have met with many beginning bloggers that are struggling with how to become popular. The answer in my mind is simply write well and produce quality content.

    People who write quality content will stay in my RSS Reader subscription list longer than those that don’t, no matter how well they are marketed.

    Maybe that is the clue, there is this perception that people are spending time on all these IDG websites or blog websites looking at the marketing. I think you will find that over time more and more people will be using more modern tools of content discovery and management that bring the content to you rather than having to go looking for content. RSS and Reader software.

    I have a vested interest in Journalists being successful and necessary as my daughter is currently enrolled at Medill and I hope there is still a role for trained journalists by the time she graduates.

    Rod

  12. dantynan says:

    @dave winer:

    thanks for weighing in. I certainly didn’t mean to misquote you. here’s what you said:

    “I said the sources would take over the news. Not enough reporters covering the courtroom? The judge will report, as will the jurors, the attorneys, the plaintiff, the defendent. It will be messier, I would have said had I had the time to complete the thought, but more truth will come out.

    I said that fifteen years ago I was unhappy with the way journalism was practiced in the tech industry, so I took matters into my own hands. And then dozens of people did, and then hundreds followed, and now we get much better information about tech. It will happen everywhere, in politics, education, the military, health, science, you name it. The sources will fill in where we used to need journalists.”

    I disagree with that on several points, but I’m not going to get into there here. I’ve already bloviated enough. I have to say, though, Dave, if you really want to review products, I know a couple thousand PR people who’d be thrilled to send you some.

    cheers,

    dt

  13. Ruth Seeley says:

    For a more even-handed (and shorter, and I confess, more compelling and less ranty – it is ironic that you’re using your blog to rant about the importance of traditional media) take on the same subject, here’s a post from Canadian Business Magazine’s senior editor and editorial board director: http://blog.canadianbusiness.com/twitter-vs-traditional-media/

  14. Bertil Hatt says:

    I appreciate your attempt to explain what your problem is, but I believe that you are able to do it not because you are a journalist who writes good papers about any topic, but because, for once, you wrote about something you know personally.

    Who made you and only you, in charge of what is the legitimate quality of a newspaper? If people stop going to a restaurant, I don’t think we should subsidize it because the chef has decided that “people don’t know what good food is anymore”. Trafic goes to lame PR blurb by clueless blogger? I don’t yell “Cunts!”, I ask: Why?

    Joe from Savannah and his lame gadget blog must be doing something right, because, believe me, after he’s linked to all your papers, his readers know about you, they’ve read you — and they still prefer to subscribe to his feed then yours. In my opinion this is because Joe is an self-critical, indulgent geek, and not a smart-ass who demands people to 1. read him, all of you 2. not to disagree with anything because you had an expert on the phone, so now, you are God’s only Son and you can’t be wrong 3. shut the f- up, especially if you are said expert, in which case, you’ll use a quote taken out of context to prove that he doesn’t know what he wants, because, hey: like I’ve always said, only stupid people change their minds.

    Point me to *one* newspaper clip about a scientific discovery that doesn’t the opposite of what is in the actual article. You want to know why? Because 80% of an academic paper is about what the author did *not* prove, to make things clear, so it’s very easy to misunderstand the claim, and pretend the paper did something it most explicitely did not. One sad note, though: those limits are not presented in that very amusing way that political journalists love: “We are such an important magazine that if the spokesperson from the President didn’t replied to our message, it can only be because they are hiding something big” and not because they just have a company/country to run and it’s hard to justify spending time with people who come with questions already answered, instead of actually contradicting information.

    Journalists are good at collecting opinion, finding knowledgeable people, knowing how to sumarize diverging opinon—write, in a word? Well, that’s also what experts do, and they are much better at it, because they dedicate their time at knowing the experts, not just misquoting them after a 10 minutes interview (that, by the way, they are no where near ready to answer to, just like you cannot type a paper right away). Why pay someone to do, with less efficiency, the learning effort an expert had to do a second time? Because you are better at explaining things? Well, no: teachers are, graphic designer are, story tellers are—and journalist have a palpable contempt for any of those needed skills.

    But we shouldn’t read from original sources not because they are busy or hard to understand wthout prior training but “Because there is not enough time in the world to read everything written by everybody about everything.” [By the way: you should get your journalist licence removed for such a lame sentence; I have failed many students for a far less offensively lame tautology.] or rather, “Unless you only care about one or two topics in your life”. Do you seriously imagine that I only read from one source? Don’t you think that it’s easy to (automatically) collect expert opinions by position, length, degree of expertise required and insight?

    Sorry to say, but you doing the legwork and selling it is economics (my speciality); no technological innovation happens without significant redistribution of what value is added by which activity. It’s more like Washing ladies. Who would have though such a useful person, that knew so much better how to remove stains then all those clueless bourgeois, would disappear? Well, their main contbution the manual effort of damping and shaking cloth became automated, so the majorty of their role changed; it did not vanished, it changed, it specialised: ironing, dry-cleaning.

    What I do not read in your essay is what changed, not about your work, but about how it’s useful to other people. Anything that Google can do (find several experts) is not needed; anything that experts can do (summarize and, unless they are grumpy, compare their point to diverging opinions) you are not the best suited to do it. What are you left with? Offering perspective for grupy experts, maybe — something that demands legitimacy from them.

    I like Dave’s take that it’s more like travel: it’s easier for me to do it myself (thanks to an intelligently designed software agent) then explain to a human agent what I want, just like it’s easier for me to read the actual speach and make my mind about what it means then to figure it out through your “60 seconds summary”.
    God, I hate those summaries: why do you have to dumb things down because you think other people are stupider then you?

    But the best, is how you use that artifical limit to deny us (and yourself) some very needed apologies for your being wrong: “I disagree with that on several points, but I’m not going to get into there here. I’ve already bloviated enough.” No. You were proven out of tracks and you have nothing to say because you don’t know how to spell S-O-R-R-Y.

    The job description that you offered us doesn’t fit XXIst century; evolve, or be part of Darwin’s legacy.

  15. dantynan says:

    I should point out that there are plenty of bloggers and other online-only news sources doing original reporting and content that I really like. I can’t go a day without reading Talking Points Memo, for example. Politico, TechPresident, The Technologizer, etc. Dozens, scores, even hundreds of them. I can’t even remember them all.

    And there is of course my lovely wife’s blog, Geekgirlfriends.com.

    So I’m not dissing all bloggers. I’m not even dissing bloggers who summarize and link. I’m just saying that, by and large, most blog content originates somewhere else, usually mainstream media. If that goes away, so do those blogs. And we’ll all be the poorer for it.

    peace,

    dt

  16. [...] to .htaccess FilesAerial Virtual tour of New York7 reasons why the business world hates social mediaMy Job and Welcome to ItFive reasons why your company blog sucksThe American Press on Suicide WatchOn TwitterNo public [...]

  17. [...] discussion is years-old, of course, but I was reminded of it this morning upon reading Dan Tynan’s musings on blogging, the death of journalism, and his job as a professional writer. He pointed to a [GAS] [...]

  18. [...] it was all inspired by a thought-provoking post from a professional journalist, and aside from my long-winded musings about blogs, it’s got [...]

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  20. [...] to .htaccess FilesAerial Virtual tour of New York7 reasons why the business world hates social mediaMy Job and Welcome to ItFive reasons why your company blog sucksOn TwitterNo public Twitter messages.Current [...]

  21. Dale Harrison says:

    Excellent piece.

    What people don’t seem to understand is that complex products require complex processes. A well researched and well written article doesn’t burst full born from the brow of Zeus…it requires people, expertise, resources and a division of labor.

    Blogging is a significant and empowering concept…never has the vox populi had a louder and more influential voice. However, the work product is typically different than journalism. Its meaningful and powerful in its own right, but it’s complimentary to, not a substitute for, traditional journalism.

    Having said that, one has to also point out the glaring flaws that seem to exist in the current institution of journalism…the blatant biases, disregard for facts and bending of the truth to make it conform to personally held beliefs.

    The hope would be that competition with each other as well as the current crisis will put market pressures on both institutions to become stronger and more devoted to perfecting what each brings to the public discourse.

  22. [...] tynan wood: my job and welcome to it What gets under my skin are the comments that invariably accompany these screeds about the future/death of journalism. It’s amazing to me how many people out there firmly believe they know how to do my job better than I do, despite the fact they have no idea what I actually do. So I thought I’d try explaining what I do, and how it’s changed as a result of the blogosphere, in an effort to clear up some misconceptions and, hopefully, shut some people up. [...]

  23. Chuck Welch says:

    Interesting piece. I’m sure it expresses the feelings of many in the industry.

    No matter the rhetoric, I don’t think anyone really believes the reporter will die out. It’s one of the older professions, and has survived numerous changes in technology. Copy editors, managing editors, delivery people…well, that’s another story. They’re being kicked to the curb far too fast.

    I have to ask, based on your point about those bloggers stealing your work without even a byline, where did you get the art? Too many writers forget that the artists and photographers are in the same boat. Please show some link love for James Thurber and DePatie-Freleng.

  24. dantynan says:

    @chuck:

    you are absolutely right about the art. thanks for pointing that out. I am usually pretty good about this on my blogs. the reason I didn’t here was because my source was wikipedia. still, I should have used a link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Myworldhome.jpg

    this shot is of course from the TV Show “My World and Welcome to It,” starring William Windham and based on characters from James Thurber’s writing. it was a favorite of mine growing up, and introduced me to Thurber, who remains one of my literary heroes.

    depatie freleng went out of biz in 1981. most of the assets were sold to what is now marvel studios. do they own the copyright to this? lord knows.

    my questions: does using a screen capture from a 40-year-old TV show to illustrate a blog entry constitute fair use? at what point does the copyright on this sort of thing expire? I really don’t know the answer to these.

    dt

  25. Phong Le says:

    Blogging is not and was not created as a reaction to you and other journalist. It is a reaction to the corporate gatekeepers (ie, The New York Times Co, the Tribune Co, etc) who decide certain people’s ideas are fit to print and disseminate and others are not. The gatekeepers are the main losers in this battle. If the fight will cost you and your colleagues jobs, don’t take it personally. It was never about you.

    If you love reporting news, continue doing it. The money will come.

  26. dantynan says:

    @phong:

    thank you for your optimism. I’m happy to accept personal checks, if you’re in a generous mood. ;)

    dt

  27. Bob Lee says:

    I take Dave Winer’s point to mean that sources should and will get more involved, not that they will replace journos. I agree that generalist summaries are good, but sometimes I want to dig deeper and draw my own conclusions.

    For example, a one-sentence comment made by Bill Clinton in SC during the last presidential election was repeated by dozens of journalists, yet I had a terrible time finding the original conversation. Once I finally tracked down the original context, it turned out that I completely disagreed with the journalists’ conclusions. I suspect that those journalists hadn’t read the full conversation themselves.

  28. [...] There have been many missives back and forth about both the death of journalism, and the so-called  decline of what is considered ‘news’ and ‘the media’ due to the rise of voices in the social media realm. While I believe there are points to be made on both sides, check that – all sides, of the argument over the future of how we define news, journalist Tynan Wood makes great points in his blog rant My Job and Welcome To It [...]

  29. Simon Clarke says:

    All of this is true, but I think misses the key, and uncomfortable, point that journalism isn’t as important to most people as journalists think it is. (I am one, so I speak from a certain knowledge).

    The problem with the grocery store/hunt it yourself analogy is that we really do need to eat, but we really don’t need to read well-researched articles on whatever topic it may be. I mean, it’s nice, but it’s optional.

    So, a future of more-or-less informed babble with little or no “real” investigative reporting? Could well be. And there isn’t much we, on the supply side of the equation, can do about it.

  30. [...] on the demise of the professional journalist Jump to Comments Here’s a good essay from Dan Tynan on the pressure faced by “real” journalists (ie those who spend time doing original research, rather than regurgitating other people’s [...]

  31. Mark Asher says:

    You can’t even really blame Google — if they didn’t do it, someone else would, because the demand is there.

    Now maybe you can blame IDG a bit — perhaps they should have a compensation structure that gives writers more when the story is syndicated.

    I often click on links in blogs to read the original story. If I don’t, it means the summary of the story in the blog didn’t interest me enough. I don’t really see this stealing ad revenue unless the blogger lifts the story whole and doesn’t link back.

  32. John Conti says:

    Well, stupid RnR’s like me are going to make this all worse of course with our quick draw opinions. However opinions, if they are seen as that, can often form a backdrop with which to see the original story more clearly. It is an irony of human perception that entertaining the widest variety of opinion actually helps us feel better about making choices in the center, or moderate range. Weird, us humans, but hey…

    The overall devaluation of industries by the Internet is a hot topic, and likely in the current economy to get hotter. So on a RnR tangent, that I think really is related, I offer:

    http://john-conti.com/gin/1062/internet-luddites-attack/

    Thanks for the awesome post.

    Cheers,
    John

  33. Money says:

    Did you mind if I quoted part of this article on my website? I’d give proper credit.

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