Archive for Rants

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]

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