The New Journalism?

I got this comment last night on my 15 million post from Kevin Farnham:

I usually agree with you, but this time I think you’re missing an
important distinction. Blogging and twittering are two very different
things. Blogs are a medium for journalism; twitter, MySpace comments,
etc., are not journalism.

I think Technorati’s blogging data is a valid representation of
what’s really happening. In the developed world, real journalists are
sticking with their blogs, while those who really seek social
conversation with friends are dropping their blogs in favor of social
networking sites.

Blogging is very different from social networking, in my view.

There’s more to the comment, so click thru on the link to the post above to read the whole thing. Kevin makes an interesting distinction. Blogs are journalism. Twitter and MySpace are not.

I think journalism itself is a dated concept. We are now in the world of conversation. We are talking to ourselves. John Heilemann said it best in his recent column in NY Magazine about Murdoch’s designs on the WSJ:

Did anybody at Dow Jones ever contemplate purchasing MySpace? Did
Arthur Sulzberger or Don Graham? I don’t know, but I’d wager they
didn’t even know what MySpace was. The obvious retort is, Why should
they have? What does social networking have to do with journalism? And,
no doubt, a precise answer is hard to conjure. But if you don’t believe
that the intermingling of these spheres will be central to how future
generations consume their news, you’ve apparently been sleeping—and
clearly don’t have kids.

The intermingling of these spheres will be HOW future generations comsume their news. Period. End of story. I learn stuff on Twitter every day that is more profound than many of the blogs I read.

Just because it’s said in 140 characters or less doesn’t mean it’s not journalism. To think otherwise is patronizing and wrong.

UPDATE: Some great comments coming in on this one. Click on the comment link and check them out. Also, John Heilemann sent me this email which he said I could publish:

i’m not sure i think that journalism is an outdated concept. i think
what you say is true about "conversation" becoming a key metaph for a
more participatory and conversational information sphere. but to me
journalism is all about reporting – the gathering and analysis of
information, not merely the purveying of opinion. in my view, most
blogging doesn’t constitute journalism. neither does most twittering.
that doesn’t mean they’re not important and valuable. just means
they’re another part of a more complex info ecosystem. but journalism/
reporting will always be a crucial – indeed, irreplaceable, part of
that ecosystem, too.

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