Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is Blogging Journalism?

TwitThis

~~~>Post Length - Long, but tolerable

Rafi of Oh Word just posted on the lack of Journalism
in Hip Hop Journalism.
He goes on to critique several
Hip Hop blogs, one of which is The Smoking Section.

Full disclosure I am cool with both Gotty of The Smoking
Section and Rafi.


Gotty
has never claimed that TSS was a home to HH journalism.

In fact ,old boy is quite pragmatic in terms of keeping, hip hop,
journalism and page views all in perspective.

For instance, when Gotty and I recently discussed my
Saul/KRS Sell Out post, we agreed that even though
Primo was on the Smirnoff sponsored track with KRS,
it wouldn't be proper for me to bring Primo into the
critique because he never held himself out to be a
Righteous dude.

I jokily mentioned to Gotty how he would probably accept cigarette ads
and then I caught myself, acknowledging that the name of the site IS
The Smoking Section. Duh.

When I mentioned this Primo clause to Filthy he reminded me
that Primo was always gully friendly, as he has worked with everyone
from Freddie Fox to MOP to NAS. You don't GET more street then
M.O.P. It ain't gonna happen.


I
f you read Rafi's post, it isn't personal attack on any
blogger. It is about the lack of investigation in Hip Hop
Journalism in general as he cites the fact that The Smoking
Gun has broken two major hip hop related pieces in the last month.

I would push Rafi a step further to critique the erosion of
investigative journalism and investigative anything over the
last 20 years.
His post reminded me of two things.

First a piece by Nick Davies on the rise of
Public Relations
and the erosion of investigate
journalism around the world.
Nick uses the Iraq War
as a test case. He measures the erosion by the fact
that newspaper journalist's are expected to accomplish
as much as they did 20 years ago in a fraction of the time,
which of course raises issues of sustainability.

You crunch all those numbers for all these companies and you come up with something that is really important – essentially, your average Fleet Street reporter now is filling three times as much space as he or she was 20 years ago. Turn that round, look at it from the reporter’s point of view: we only have one third of the time to do our job. That’s terribly important.
He also speaks on the PR machine as it relates to the war. He writes,
While we’ve been losing our jobs, somebody else has been getting more and more jobs. Which is the PR industry. There was an invisible moment at some point in the last decade when the number of PR people in this country finally exceeded the number of journalists.

When I started on local papers, if you wanted to write a story about a hospital you phoned the hospital you talked to the hospital manager or a doctor. Now you deal with a PR. Across the public sector – and across the private sector. All corporations now defend themselves. And charities and even terrorist groups! Everybody has PR people.

Whereas you should have a system where journalists, working honestly and independently, make what used to be called news judgments and say this story is important, this angle needs to be expressed, this research needs to be done....

And it isn’t just about press releases. It’s about deeply manipulative behaviour. So for example, PR companies work very assiduously to set up front groups. These are phony grass-roots groups. There are so many phony grass-roots groups in the US that they have a nice little term for them, they call them Astroturf, because they’re not real grass.

A classic example of an Astroturf group is the Iraqi National Congress, the INC. The INC didn’t just emerge out of nowhere, it was invented and created by a man called John Rendon..."
Nick's comments on the PR game hit me particularly in the spine
because I
have been considering launching a full blown PR
hustle. I figured, I have written bios, I understand music, marketing
and the law,
I can work on getting in contact with artists, so why
not? Well, Nick's
words have me thinking about how, if this is a
choice I make, which SIDE of the force I am going to be on.
That is the realness.


The second thing it reminded me of was of a few posts from the
tech bloggers world about the lack of original thought in the
blogosphere. Doc Searl, of The Linux Journal, lays out
why orginal thought is difficult. He writes,
  1. Writing original thought-provoking blog content is a challenge. It takes time, thought and effort. The problem, however, is many bloggers are often short of time, which means it is difficult to come up with insightful thoughts...
  2. Many bloggers just want to be part of the conversation before it moves on. You see a hot story and you’re keen to jump in but not willing to simply leave a comment on someone else’s blog...
  3. Writing original content often provides a low return on investment. Let’s face it, traffic is what drives many bloggers, which explains why checking your stats on a regular basis is a key part of blogging...
The title of this MADE ME feel good because, if anything, THERE
is ALWAYS original thought here at Model Minority. Sometimes
too much thought according to some......

I found it affirming because it appears that formal journalist,
hip hop bloggers and tech bloggers seem to be asking themselves
the same question, which is how do we classify the material that
we are writing?


Speaking of investigative journalism, the war and
pr,
did you see this? The Pentagon's Hidden Hand?
Its more like The Matrix
meets 1984 courtesy of your
tax dollars.

BLOG UPDATE
9:59am
I just came across a Times article on the tension
between sports teams and sport bloggers. I think
I am on to something here.

Last month Mr. Cuban sought to ban bloggers from the Mavericks’ locker room, but the National Basketball Association intervened, ruling that bloggers from credentialed news organizations must be admitted.

Mr. Cuban then decided to let in any blogger — “someone on Blogspot who has been posting for a couple weeks, kids blogging for their middle school Web site or those that work for big companies.”

Tension over sports blogging is one of the strains between sports franchises, leagues and reporters to have emerged during the digital age.

10 comments:

Gotty™ said...

It takes time, thought and effort. The problem, however, is many bloggers are often short of time, which means it is difficult to come up with insightful thoughts...

You see a hot story and you’re keen to jump in but not willing to simply leave a comment on someone else’s blog...
==========
BRB.



Nah, j/k.

Journalism is a different breed of animal than blogging.

Journalism = training. resources, not limited to just money. time. fact checking. extensive editing.

Blogging = Oftentimes passionate writing or just a will to pass along information. Sure, you can challenge yourself about the level of content which you include, but in the end, it's wholly different style of writing.

I can wake up & call myself a doctor, but who's gonna let me operate on them? I don't wake up & call myself a "true" journalist either.

Truth be told, there's only a few blogs/sites actually pushing their content.

But, yeah...BRB. Just wanted to drop thru.

M.Dot. said...

I read that a couple of times to that that that was a jokey bear, lols.

Good to see you round these parts, its a tho back to the old days.


I can wake up & call myself a doctor, but who's gonna let me operate on them? I don't wake up & call myself a "true" journalist either.
=====
Yo, numerous cats get convicted every year for impersonating laywers/doctors.
You'd be surprised.

Dart Adams said...

I just write about whatever I want whenever I feel like it. Sometimes people recognize and sometimes they don't. You gotta do what you gotta do and not worry about originality deterring people from visiting your page, Technorati, Wikio and Alexa ratings. I just do me.

One.

AaronM said...

Great writeup of an important issue.
I think bloggers can call themselves writers, if that's what they do.
Eskay is not a writer, no disrespect intended. He posts non-written content, basically.
The folks at Oh Word are writers.
But few bloggers are journalists, because fact-checking isn't part of a blogger's job, NECESSARILY.
It probably should be. But because of that aforementioned rush, one doesn't always double-check.
And there's no immediate disadvantage - someone can always leave a comment letting you know what you missed/got wrong in your post.

M.Dot. said...

Great writeup of an important issue.
===
Thank you Aaron.

someone can always leave a comment letting you know what you missed/got wrong in your post.
=======

Dude and trust me. The Hip Hop Bloggers do. They correct spelling. Point out that I mis attributed a production credit. They tell me that links or dead.

Its QUITE interactive.

M.Dot. said...

I just write about whatever I want whenever I feel like it.
=====

I hear you blood. But the complaints me loud and clear. M....posts are too long, you post too frequent...Its like man...I am trying to work some 'ish out here.

But there is something to be said for walking that fine line between satisfying yourself and your audience. For instance, Filthy sent me an article titled "10 Articles Every Blogger must Read". On one level I looked at HIM sideways for that. On another level, he was just trying to look out so I read it Friday. Low and behold the article was helpful and actually contributed to me coming up with the idea of the "Is Blogging Journalism" idea.

Hashim said...

When I was at SOHH we would get discouraged that our original features would get almost as many pageviews as the simple news articles, yet they took 10 times as much time and money to produce.

Journalism is hard.

Model Minority said...

Shimmy Shimmy YA.

WHAT it do ock?

Dude.

This is like the BLOG REUNION POST.

HELL NAW.

When I was at SOHH we would get discouraged that our original features would get almost as many pageviews as the simple news articles, yet they took 10 times as much time and money to produce.
=======
Blood. My link game is soooo nasty. More thought GOES INTO coming up with the idea of the post than the actual writing. I mean I have emails FULL OF links that I think are dope and have potential. Then there is the proofreading (which I CLEARLY need help with. ARRRG. Talk about work. But me no gripey.

Its nice having nerdy discourse.

Plus this shit be keeping me with a fly dude to post up with <<<~~~~~E.GREGIOUS.

Journalism is hard.
=====
All important things are.
Might have to workshop that.
I see it on a t-shirt.

3:28 PM

Gotty™ said...

Original pieces always take so much more effort & then get so little recognition. Interviews...man, the whole process of those shits takes a few days work.

And then...little reaction b/c "who's that" or the latest e-fad/stylin' on you/"Lil Wayne's the best"/Eli commenter comes in and...grr.

M.Dot. said...

Dude. Tell me about it.
I was all set to do this Ta-Nehisi Bill Cosby gone wild post, than that NYOIL/NAS ish happened...so my whole steez got high jacked.

Original pieces always take so much more effort & then get so little recognition
=======
See. Thats why Ras Kass/Picasso/Basquiat went crazy.

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