Just re-read the thread and have to say that (for me) all posts here have been very informative. Obviously I am
already an expert on everything
and for that I find it helpful to not always let simple matters like not knowing WTF I am talking about restrain me
......but nonetheless I do like to learn
and even though I may talk a lot - I do also listen a lot.....I may not always agree!, but I do like to at least understand where people are coming from.
Originally Posted by Compass Rose
I don't agree that the skill of a journalist is simply to polish turds. There's still a need for good reporting and writing, and always will be. The market just won't support as much of it as it used to, or in the same format.
Just to clarify that I was not saying that the skill of a journalist is simply
to polish turds (and I agree that doing so regularly is not a commercial
proposition). Nor was I saying that journalists do not have useful skills (and advantages over the non-proffessional writer).....it's just a matter of what could / would work commercially. If the competition is free then a business has to cope with that, either by dumbing down or by harnessing the same free resource.
Much the same that being a Weaver is still
a highly skilled job (and used to be well paid) - but nowadays by using technology that job (for the mass market) has fundamentally changed - even if the output is fundamentally unchanged. Doesn't mean that the skills (and knowledge / experiance) of a Weaver is not still of use within the industry - just that can no longer compete head
on (outside any speciality areas). Whether the original Weavers thought that a good thing or not is irrelevent (they didn't - unsurprisingly!).....it's just how the world / business became......you either deal with the new reality or you don't.
The decline of traditional journalism and the growth in online media has pros and cons. There's an awful lot of crap on the internets, and the accuracy and reliability of information tends to decline when it's being churned out by bloggers and "citizen journalists" that aren't accountable to anyone. And usually, you get what you pay for.
That sounds like something Rupert Murdoch (etc) says
. In many respects that argument is
correct - but it's simply part of the new reality, that ain't going away anytime soon. For a business to survive it has to deal with reality (sooner or later) - as the Banking industry and Govts found out the hard way in recent times
My take is that (online) is where a good Editor (Editorial Team) makes the primary difference between garbage (minority interests) and content that is good enough to attract and retain readers - and can be wrapped around making money
. As true for boats as anything else - quality always sells.......the price
acheived is another matter.
In regard to Bloggers and Citizen Journalists I think that really only affects the news gathering / reporting side of the media and is a different beast to Magazines. They are just one news source and if folk don't treat any one news source as gospel then will find likely that the truth will eventually out. I suspect that the real reason the traditional media (and especially the propriaters) disparage the online compitetion is that readers no longer treat the traditional output (and especially the opinions / slant
) as having been written on tablets of stone, and carried down the mountain to the grateful masses.....and also forgetting that if no one knows about something, it's not actually news!
I dunno about the US media, but over here the newspapers (Serious and Tabloid) are lame 99% of the time. I suspect most of the content comes from press releases (from Politicians and commercial
/ vested interests).....backed up by Google
, with own slant added. The newspapers do also feature a lot of opinion pieces, which can be interesting (even if for the reason of "why am I being told this?") - but fundametally no different to an online blogger. Sometimes 2+2 = 4. sometimes 5....for a variety of reasons.
FWIW one of the papers I have enjoyed most was the Bangkok Post - not much by the way of investigative journalism (lots off limit over there - anything "good" was first in the local press, if at all) nor for the features / opinions (although as enjoyable / dull as any other paper) - but simply for the fact that most of the international news was cut and pasted from the Wire services (AP / Reuters) - not to say that these were always unslanted, but as close to unbiased news as one can get. Well written mind
Although I am not a Blogger (too lazy!) I do have a website for my boat - and it's more about the Model than my own boat. The reason for "publishing" it online was partly to be helpful to others, partly because their was not much online back when I bought mine (only 140 built, and back in the 60's / ealry 70's) with a large proportion of the ownership
now in the hands of older folks (the model is a "keeper" type boat) and therefore not so internet capable)......and partly out of self interest, if folks don't know what a Seadog 30 is, then that doesn't help her resale value (not to say I have any intention of ever selling - but yer never know). But "payment" was largely from the enjoyment, coupled with some positive feedback.
I mention it as a simple example of what a commercial publisher is competing against (not for Spam - I genuinely don't care if I don't have a squillion hits - and have no hit counter activated). The website was originally written 5 or 6 years back (and has recently moved over to Google
Sites - Free and no Google Ads!, had a few tweeks and still a few more to do, when I can be bothered
). It has had positive feedback (back when the guestbook still worked / I had an e-mail listed - it's on the list
).....including from folk who then went on to buy one! (I guess those who decided against thanks to the Website don't get in contact
Since then one of the UK Sailing mags (Sailing Today) has written a s/h boat review of the Seadog 30.....and it's available online for free (unlike the bigger competition who still try to sell their boat reviews
). In some respects these information sources are competing against each other, but for the reader they simply complement each.....and nonetheless the commercial magazine still saw a useful way of wrapping an article around some advertising on paper - and online they still are.
In addition one of the UK Brokers maintains an online (free) archive of boats they have sold. The content is written by an "amatuer" - at the time of my own boat purchase
it was the primary source of online info. The commercial value the Broker extracts from that archive is not in straight cash into pocket, but from getting known and also adding a face / credibility to the business - which may
turn into a sale
or a listing (and I would happily bet does). Certainly when I was buying
if they'd had another Seadog 30 for sale
then I would have been very happy to deal with them.
Now, I won't claim my Website is better (nor perfect, either in content or writing skill!) but IMO for a prospective owner it is more than good enough to be a
useful source of info - and added value comes from the writer (me!) also being an owner.
Sailing Today Magazine - Seadog 30 Review
DOJ Seadog 30 website
Yachtsnet (UK Yacht Broker) - Seadog 30 Archive
But as a previous poster pointed out, readers will accept a less polished product if there's a good story to tell. I think the most viable model at the moment combines the work of reporters/journalists with writing from contributors who aren't necessarily trained journalists - and that's okay. I think people want to see themselves reflected in the publications they read, so boating pubs should be a mix of voices and perspectives. Not every article has to be a shining example of great writing.
Personally I think that unpolished can add to a story for the reasons you state. But certainly not saying that a Magazine style publication has to be the equivalent of written in crayon by a dyslexic
. The Editor's role may involve some Turd Polishing (that seems to be a popular phrase in this thread
), but the important part of his job is to get onboard people who don't require much / any of that (either naturally or can have the skill to do so beaten in to them
I don't know about journalists having an inflated sense of self-worth. It's a skilled profession, just like, say, a shipwright or an electrician. Good journalists have typically studied journalism and invested time and effort into honing their skills. People who don't work in journalism often don't realize what that entails or the challenges involved in doing the job well.
I was probably more talking about the news media than folks putting together Magazines. Not saying journalism is not a skilled job, but just like an electrician or shipwright have to deal with a changing marketplace.
Anyway, another long ramble from DOJ
- that is barely on CF topic
.....oddly enough I do
have better things to do!....for a start, I am finally getting around to writing to Angela Merkel to explain how to fix the Eurozone Debt Crisis and
end the European Recession......inside a week - and to do all that whilst making a profit
....my motivation / payment is from self interest (the downturn is affecting my pocket
) but also from the simple fact that I am getting bored of hearing the subject in the news.....plus it would annoy the Americans
Of course I accept that Mrs Merkel is unlikely to ever read my proposal, let alone implement it (unless she be a member
of CF?!) - but at least when we all later go off the cliff together, I can have the satisfaction of writing another letter saying "I told you so"