So much has been written about the death of journalism and the hypocrisy of PR that the collected work from the Blogosphere alone makes the Manhattan phone book look like a flyer for a grade school fundraiser. The fact that journalists and PR people write most of the copy is as funny as it is ironic, albeit no less depressing.
News is dead. News is entertainment. PR people buy journalists. PR people masquerade as journalists. Dan Rather is biased. The government is dismantling the news media. The government hires reporters. Bloggers are the new reporters. Bloggers are not reporters. PR people know how to use blogs. PR people use blogs to promote themselves. CEOs should write blogs. Reporters should read blogs and quote blogs. Matt Lauer is gay (okay, I made that last one up).
The state of journalism and public relations are serious issues – and there are problems, big problems, to be sure. But churlish hyperbole about the death of communications as we know it doesn’t do anybody in this business or the public at large any good.
Journalists – the real ones, not the Jeff Gannons or Jayson Blairs – are driven by good stories. They don’t care who’s in power or how the stories affect their corporate masters. They are as Gay Talese said, “restless voyeurs who see the warts upon the world, the countless imperfections in people and in places.” They are skeptical and cynical and critical because of ethos, not bias. It’s amazing how honest you can be when you don’t stand to make any money (and most journalists don’t).
Bloggers – or as I like to call them, “people who publish stuff using computers connected to the Internet” – come in all shapes, sizes and slants. All bloggers are not journalists, and not all journalists, or CEOs, or schoolteachers, or PR people, or animal psychologists are bloggers.
Some will tell you to “Blog or Die,” but you just as easily can say “Blog and be Killed.” And if blogging is communications Nirvana, and the “”MSM” (MainStream Media) are destined for the scrap heap of history, then why do so many bloggers strive for successful blogs just so they can land a successful book deal? Isn’t that like Gutenberg inventing the printing press just to land a contract with the “Books in Wood and Bronze” Corporation?
I love writing, and technology, and anyone who uses both to further constructive discourse. Blogs are great, journalism is not dead, PR will survive in some form, and the world will keep spinning on its axis no matter how many people scream that it’s falling off.
Now, if at some point we do learn that Matt Lauer is gay, then that changes things. But for now, all is good.