Thursday, August 11, 2011

Publishing this Blog Makes Me a Professional Journalist

In the Reading, Clay Shirky divulges into a phenomenon that he calls Mass Amateurization . This , Shirky believes, begins with the nature in which we define what is professional or amateur in the media world.

Using the definition by sociologist James Q Wilson, "a professional is someone who receives important occupation rewards from a reference group whose membership is limited to the people who have undergone specialized formal education and have accepted a group-defined code of proper conduct"(58)

However this idea is compromised by the fact that in the journalistic world, the membership line has become blurred. Just as with the invention of the printing press (truth #4 Hanson) the education once needed to maintain that exclusivity is now no longer needed in order to carry out that profession.

What hes really explaining is the long tail vs short head phenomenon,(Hanson).

A single news outlet has only a limited amount of news that they can carry. Their methods of discretion are simply a necessity to continue to turn a profit. However the internet carries nearly thousands if not millions of different news sources. Thus, what was once a small group of media publishers being defined as "professionals" is now expanded to each new blogger or idiot with a camera. The idea of news being "events covered by the press"(64) is replaced by the proliferation of mass publishing outlets.

Shirkly's question is.. does that each of these publishers a professional? Or does it make none of them?

Food for thought f'sure.

This is a really interesting video that real limitation of mainstream news compared to the expanding spectrum of long tail.

In this video, The BBC news team is trying to capture the horrors of the London riots but encounter Darcus Howe, a writer who believes that people shouldn't be surprised by the riots because of the perpetuating racism, especially among the law enforcement in London.(really similar to the l.a. riots btw).

Whats great about this video is that the BBC would've never given this story any more air time that it had already. In fact, throughout the entire interview, the reporter is trying to undermine the interview-ees credibility.
Ironically, that same video is now circulating thanks to the internet only because of the callous attempt by the journalist to move away from the topic.
To her, the idea that the riots may have been a result of provocative behavior is not something that is news worthy to her. But to the millions of people on the internet, its headline news.

Still, Whenever I look at proponents of "old" media as being disillusioned, I think of how invested we are to the internet as a permanent medium. After all, one day, someones going to be talking about the internet, just like we talk about the printing press now, and just like how they talked about scribes in the 1400s. The question is ... (if we're alive), will we be ready?

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