One of my concerns about the debate on the future of journalism is that the loudest voices come from one of three camps: Americans; employees of London mainstream media; and “pure” bloggers.
Now I have the highest possible respect for American journalists, despite their unfortunate habit of ending every paragraph with the words “police sources said Thursday in a telephone interview on condition of anonymity”. But their approach to journalism is very different from their British counterparts and their markets are very different to ours (even if geographically there is crossover). This latter point is especially relevant in the concept of “local”, of which more another day.
London media heavyweights, while terribly clever, can slip into the trap of thinking the world ends at the M25. Their thinking can also be flavoured by budgets that would make NASA blush. Their solutions and innovations tend more towards the: “Let’s build a podcast studio” end of things rather than: “What’s the cheapest mic I can buy?”
Finally, bloggers are often unconcerned with (or even gleeful at) the fate of journalists working for flailing old MSM. (And who can blame them for that?) But that does mean that the practicalities of the ordinary journalist’s life and fears get overlooked.
Thus it is good to see a much-needed perspective being brought to media blogging by an “0ld sk00l” (as I believe the young people term it) journo. Stephen Rafferty is a hack’s hack in the finest traditions of Scottish tabloid journalism.
We need voices such as his as we try to work out what’s going to happen to journalism and journalists.