|Bloggers vs journalists?|
|Written by Carlos Conde|
|Wednesday, 04 June 2008 11:17|
The venerable Luis Teodoro, the editor of the Philippine Journalism Review and former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, was the subject recently of harsh, not to mention erroneous and malicious, commentary in the blogosphere. The attack was the result of a suggestion he made that journalists should blog in order to teach bloggers how to use the standards of journalism in blogging.
You see, many of these bloggers tend to think of themselves – rather conceitedly, if I may – as the "new journalists." Yet they eschew the established standards of professionalism in journalism.
One blogger, who likes to portray himself as an intellectual with his shrill commentary, not only dismissed Teodoro's suggestion as hypocritical – he went on to state that Teodoro had been a hack for the Communists (!). The blogger also suggested that Teodoro was dissing bloggers because Teodoro was threatened by them.
Teodoro's point – that journalists blog so they can be an example to bloggers – may be contentious but there is no debating its premise and context: that far too many blogs irresponsibly publish information. (The blogger's McCarthyist attack on Teodoro precisely validates the professor's point – that many bloggers are irresponsible, malicious and peddler of outright falsehoods. This is not to say that these sins are not committed by old media practitioners, but you get the point.)
That Teodoro thought journalists should teach bloggers how to responsibly handle news and information perhaps betrayed his bias for his profession. Then again, who else can – or should – do that sort of thing?
Which brings me to another point: Bloggers should not take offense when journalists teach them a lesson or two in journalism. If they do, then they should stop claiming that what they do is the "new journalism." They should drop the pretense that blogging is a threat to journalism or mainstream media.
In any case, when the online attack on Teodoro erupted, a part of me thought: could the denizens of new media purposely (and maliciously) insisted that the old media hands like Teodoro are dismissing new media in order to bloat their significance and relevance? Is Teodoro being depicted as fearful of new media so that those in new media can feel good about themselves?
As far as I'm concerned, there is no debate on the relevance of new media and old media. In fact, there shouldn't even be such a classification. Online journalism, blogging, etc. are nothing but an innovation — a technological step, if I may — in media and journalism that are no different from television when it was first introduced decades ago. And as we know now, television did not weaken journalism — it strengthened it.
But make no mistake: there are indeed dinosaurs in Filipino newsrooms who don't understand how the new media works and dismiss it as unimportant. They don't appreciate the fact that blogging is a terrific tool to supplement — not supplant, contrary to the conceited belief of many bloggers — journalism.
This failure to adapt to new technologies and trends is disheartening because, as journalists, we should always be open to new and more efficient ways in doing our jobs and in practicing a fundamental principle that has not changed despite the passing of years and the introduction of new technology: ascertaining the accuracy and relevance of the information we disseminate to the public. Unfortunately, this is something that blogging, because of its loose and personal nature, has not been able to achieve, and probably never will.
[Source: GMANews.tv. Carlos Conde writes for the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. He is a member of the Zumel Center's board of directors.]