This is a comment I wrote for an earlier post about the role of journalists. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve copied it into a post because it is actually longer than most things I write and the debate is moving on. Let me know what you think!
I think one of the things that seems to be misunderstood between commenters is the thorny issue of the importance of journalism.
I think there are two areas that need to be unwoven in this debate:
One is making sure we understand what we mean when we talk about journalism.
The second is making sure when we talk about journalism being essential, we understand what we think it is essential for.
OK, so trying to define journalism is an essay in itself and I know I’m going to fall far short with this attempt, but here goes:
Journalism seems to be a catch-all for many types of writing that is triggered by current or relevant events.
As the flow of comments has started to slow on the Flickr post, I thought I’d let you all know what I plan to do next!
Over the next few weeks (after I’ve finished my first assignment), I’ll start collating the comments. I think what has come out from the discussion is going to be applicable to a lot of the other things I wanted to looking at for the website project.
I had just assumed (naively, perhaps) that because people were happy for bloggers to link to their work (as long as they were credited), they would also be happy for a site like The Birmingham Post to link to it too.
This, however, doesn’t seem to be completely the case. Most of the concern seems to come from the belief that – as we are a commercial publishing operation – any and all the material we link to on the web must be paid for.
I can understand that point, but I think the distinction between commercial and non-commercial spaces on the Internet needs to be looked at in more detail. Not that I’m going to do that right here and now – the comments have given me way too much to mull over!
In my head, I saw The Birmingham Post website as a place to go for news and opinion, but also as a (sorry to use this word) gateway to Brum’s professional and creative communities on the web. I still see it that way, but I now realise I need to look at how I’m going to do that in more depth.
But please keep the comments coming in, I really want to get to grips with this.