Archive for January 29, 2007

Are Journalists Brain Surgeons?

The Panel at the AAF District conference Luncheon

At the AAF District 10 Conference last week, I got the chance to listen to an interesting panel of media experts. The list included: George Anders of the Wall Street Journal, Matthew Comstock of Yahoo, Patricia Torres Byrd of LAT-TV, and two other men – but I can’t find their names.

The panel answered questions regarding the way their media has changed and all said that their newspapers, radio, TV, journals, etc. were experiencing economic growth inspite of the “horror” stories of traditional media that we read fairly often (some commented that the internet is part of the upswing). Here is a report on MSN about trouble in traditional media.

I did get the chance to ask the panel if they “had plans” or if they “currently integrate” any “Citizen Media” into their companies content. LAT-TV and Yahoo answered “yes”. The others had no plans for citizen media.

George Anders said the Wall Street Journal allows comments and feedback with success but they don’t integrate Citizen Journalists because they aren’t up to The Journal’s standards.

One even commented that, “We go to college for this stuff…. and would you let a citizen perform brain surgery?”

Standards are great, so I think that is a valid reason to maintain journalistic integrity. But brain surgery? Richard Scoble isn’t a journalist employed by a newspaper or major publication yet I believe that he is an amazing source of news. Dan Gilmore and “We the Media” would definitely disagree that you had to be an “in the club journalist” in order to be heard.

I didn’t think the analogy was appropriate at all. Here is why Citizen Journalism should be taken seriously: Citizen Journalists are the source fo the news. They are the voice itself.

I want to hear a companies story from the man in the trench (example: Bob Lutz). I want to hear the Dallas Mavericks story from Mark Cuban. I want to hear about the Mazda 3 door safety problem from someone that really likes cars and understands the industry.

My favorite advertising news site is http://adarena.blogspot.com/. Adarena is created by Michal Pastier, a student of Marketing communication department of Comenius University in Slovakia. I like the content better than Ad Age.

Just because you can kick my ass in gramar – doesn’t mean that my thoughts aren’t important. It actually makes you arrogant. You might miss something good by hanging on to “worth associated with style” instead of “worth associated with meat”.

Just a warning. Don’t be arrogant. Being a journalist doesn’t make you a brain surgeon or rocket scientist. Being arrogant makes you dumb.

January 29, 2007 at 10:26 pm 2 comments


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