Posner arvab meediast ja Shafer arvab, et Posner võiks meediast vähem arvata

The latest, and perhaps gravest, challenge to the journalistic establishment is the blog. Journalists accuse bloggers of having lowered standards. But their real concern is less high-minded – it is the threat that bloggers, who are mostly amateurs, pose to professional journalists and their principal employers, the conventional news media. A serious newspaper, like The Times, is a large, hierarchical commercial enterprise that interposes layers of review, revision and correction between the reporter and the published report and that to finance its large staff depends on advertising revenues and hence on the good will of advertisers and (because advertising revenues depend to a great extent on circulation) readers. These dependences constrain a newspaper in a variety of ways. But in addition, with its reputation heavily invested in accuracy, so that every serious error is a potential scandal, a newspaper not only has to delay publication of many stories to permit adequate checking but also has to institute rules for avoiding error – like requiring more than a single source for a story or limiting its reporters’ reliance on anonymous sources – that cost it many scoops.

Blogs don’t have these worries. Their only cost is the time of the blogger, and that cost may actually be negative if the blogger can use the publicity that he obtains from blogging to generate lecture fees and book royalties. Having no staff, the blogger is not expected to be accurate. Having no advertisers (though this is changing), he has no reason to pull his punches. And not needing a large circulation to cover costs, he can target a segment of the reading public much narrower than a newspaper or a television news channel could aim for. He may even be able to pry that segment away from the conventional media. Blogs pick off the mainstream media’s customers one by one, as it were.

Nii arvab Richard Posner New York Times’is artiklis, kus lahkab ka ajakirjanduse olemust, vasak-parem ja liberaal-konservatiiv polariseerumise põhjuseid USA meedias ning “uue” meedia tõusu. Artikkel on pikk ja ülevaatlik, kirjutatud aga inimese poolt, kes kohtunik, kirjanik, akadeemik ja blogija.

Loomulikult ei ühti kõik inimesed Posneri diagnoosiga. Osad ei pea paljuks Posnerile ka vastata ja auke tema pikemapoolsesse diagnoosi toksida. Jack Shafer on üks nendest:

He ignores journalistic history as he spots emerging “trends” and gets basic facts wrong. A 4,600-word piece about the decline of journalism should cite numerous specific transgressions, yet Posner is too lazy to collect the evidence. He names only Newsweek’s Quran retraction, CBS News’ mishandling of the Air National Guard story, and the media’s saturation coverage of the Michael Jackson trial. Dismissing as horse-race coverage most of the press corps’ speculations about who would replace Sandra Day O’Connor, he doesn’t bother to name the offenders.

Küsimusi jagub Shaferil veel teisigi, üks parem kui teine. Vähemalt mulle tundus, et Posner laseb pigem enda autoriteedil kui teadmistele lugejaid veenda. (via Arts and Letters)

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