Jeff Jarvis writes about the frustration of having a print article on blogging edited badly. Go ahead and read it–it’s interesting. I’ll wait.
I’ve never worked in journalism, so I can only wonder if there’s any truth behind my point here. Big-media journalism caters to several different audiences: the legal department, the advertisers, and a diverse readership/viewership that can vote with its wallets/eyeballs.
All of these create pressure to avoid saying anything that might offend anyone. So where a blogger, who mostly writes to please himself, will write “The president lied,” traditional media will wind up saying “there are some doubts as to the reliability of the president’s statement.” I can easily imagine an editor who has worked in that environment internalizing these rules an applying them widely.
Journalists also try to create the initial impression of objectivity, which manifests sometimes as an aversion to the categorical. The result is the same: what otherwise would be a strong statement is watered down to “some people say this.”
There’s also the obvious problem here of the traditional media’s relationship with blogging, which is wary at best and hostile at worst–so it only makes sense that someone with both feet planted in the former camp would edit with an eye towards softening the strongest pro-blog points.
via Anil Dash
4 thoughts on “Print media vs blogging, part 847”
I have two observations. First it’s interesting to compare this with jonl’s experience writing about blogging for the local weekly.
Another is that I think bloggers have their own form of self-censorship, and it’s naive and egositistical to pretend otherwise. I’ve gotten some feedback to my snarky post about blog comments that suggests I’ve violated some unwritten rules. (I do have some speculation as to the nature of those rules … a topic for a future posting …)
Hmmm….I think Jeff Jarvis is a big baby. The editor generally gave his comments some context. Yes, there were a couple of edits that were perhaps unnecessary and one (the one about interactivity) that did indeed change the meaning of what he wrote. The rest struck me as pretty standard improvements.
After initially reading his article, I was going to say that he must not have been edited before, but then I read his About Me section and it turns out he has written for several major publications. So, really, he has no excuse.
In fact, his little snit fit (his words, not mine) over being edited seems to me to highlight just how insular and self-absorbed the blog world can be. Even a seasoned journalist such as Jarvis can lose his vestigial ability to be edited if left alone with his own writing for too long!
I realize I’m a complete outsider. In fact, I can’t read most blogs because the majority are about things I care nothing about or their occasional moments of brilliance are tarnished by way too much mental masturbation.
All that said, the two blogs I do enjoy on a regular basis are Adam’s and Jenny’s. I haven’t found any others that are as consistently interesting or as well written as yours (theirs?).
Anyway, has any blogger ever been happy with a mainstream media article about blogging? I think it’s a lot like any special interest group. When you are knowledgable and passionate about anything, it’s all too easy to dismiss an “outsider’s” perspective as wrong or perhaps just ill-informed. Yet, to outsiders (and that would be most people) it is actually the members of the interest group who have lost their objectivity.
Excellent points about editing, Lori [she says, as one who started out her adult working life as an editor]. And glad you like my blog. :)
here is a free tip:
if you don’t know what you are talking about don’t post online.
I’m sorry I don’t buy what you said but it’s to cheap.
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