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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

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It seems as though the conversation about bloggers vs. traditional media has started, once again. Each time this topic gets brought up, it seems as though there is more and more desparation on the side of traditional media. Kelly McBride, points out ... [Read More]

Comments

Paul Montgomery

Well said Cameron. Stuart is crusty, as you say, but did you get a chance to talk to the younger journos? What do they think?

Cameron Reilly

yeah Paul, met some of the younger gen, they seem like nice enough boys and girls.

Gnoll110

"the exclusivity they have had on broad-based communication for 100 years is over"

Hi Cam

I agree, well said. One point I'ld like to make is that I think you should use the phrase "mass communication" instead of "broad-based communication". The reason I say this is that it shows the basic move from the Industrial Age to the Information Age.

The Industrial Age was about mass everything. Mass Production, Mass Media/Mass Communication, Mass Education, Mass War.

The Information Age is not about Mass anything. It's about people applying there skill & knowledge to get the best results. It's about the "any colour, as long as it's black" production dog growing a "long tail".

Rob Irwin

You look at the current crop of IT journos who are blogging and it's the guys <30 who are doing it in particular, although I might have to change that to <35 as I turn 31 this year and Gus kidman is a few years older than me, too, but it's a decent rule of thumb! This is going to increase as the industry brings in more and more recruits who are going to see it as a way of life. Things will improve.

I think those of us who can see worth in the medium try and fight the good fight and promote it where possible. It's why I got Mark Jones and Frank Arrigo and Mick Stanic to talk to the industry about it while I was still working in PR - I think that was possibly the first real, en masse blogging/podcasting event done by a PR agency in this country (although someone will no doubt cite some tin pot event that no one went to as happening earlier...), and the word is spreading.

Ultimately, as I've said for some time, the two are going to merge. Yes, there will always be extremes of bloggers who resent being called psuedo-journos and live in a fantasy land where they'll be the one to wave a black flag over the burning office of a news organisation when it finally capitulates to blogging and/or podcasting... and, on the other extreme, journos who think bloggers are invading their pitch without having "paid their dues" in a real editorial environment and therefore aren't valid commentators. But, in the middle, I think there's a growing interest, respect and people who can see a lot of mutually beneficial relationships happening between the two medias.

By the way, to completely change topic, how bizarre for two completely different areas of my life to be clashing in a post like this. I've known Phil for, like, ever... and I've been a regular here for a long time, too. Now you two are meeting, interacting... it's kinda bizarre. I don't think I've ever seen his curls described as being like Brett Whitely's, however! Most people just seem to confuse him with John Davidson... another IT journo.

Cameron Reilly

Rob, maybe we'll all be playing "six degrees of rob irwin" in the future? :-)

Rob Irwin

That would give my ego a healthy boost, sure.

I think you can probably play two of three degrees of separation with just about anyone in IT these days anyway... vendors, journos, startups, resellers, disties... pr folk... the lot.

Simon Sharwood

The first reaction of anything, anytime it gets threatened is to become defensive. That's why full-time journos are often so hostile to new media. They know it is a threat and cannot quite say why or how. So they lash out in the hope of doing some damage to the threat.

What is that threat? IMHO the reason people consume big media is that they tacitly believe that big media does a good job of filtering information so that they receive the most important stuff they need to be entertained and/or informed.That means they by necessity provide a lowest common denomiator service.

But that is not bad. Circulations may be down, but I believe overall consumption of media is on the way up. I tune into mainstream media for the things they do well and use new media for niches too small for big media to bother with.

There's room for everyone here. But there's also room for up and comers to take pieces of audience away from big media for good.

Cameron Reilly

Well said Simon. There is room for all of us. However, whether or not the current economic models of mainstream media will survive untouched if their traditional audience starts consuming a higher percentage of new media is something that we'll have to wait and see. We each only have a certain number of hours in the day in which we can consume media. Ten years ago, it was all MSM. Today, for some of us, it's a lot less MSM and more NM. The general population, especially 16 - 30 year olds, are catching up quickly to the early adopters. If MSM doesn't get the same eyeball count it is used to, ad revenues will drop, which means they can't pay those enormous salaries the old folks are used to, which means... welcome to new media. :-)

Rob Irwin

Yes, welcome to new media where the audience is so fractured you don't know who you're actually talking to... oh, and no one makes any real money, either. Huzzah! ;-)

Cameron Reilly

Define "real money" Rob. A couple of my hosts are already pulling in over $1000 a month for their podcast... and that's a part time gig. I reckon they are probably earning a better $/hr on it than many journalists do.

Rob Irwin

Well, $12,000 year part time isn't bad... but it's not exactly good, either!

OK, that's a little harsh, so let me qualify that. If one could make $12,000/year for sitting down at the PC and rambling for half an hour every other week, posting the file and waiting for the cheque to arrive... ok, not bad. A nice little earner, Dell Boy.

I'd wager that your shows which are pulling this kind of income, however, are those where the host has to spend a lot of time preparing, sketching out ideas, sourcing interviews and/or other content and basically spending a lot of time on the show. Now, divide $12,000 by the hours taken... I don't think it would be as hot. What would the pay rate work out to be? Would it be more or less than a part timer at Maccas? (See, I can compare professions, too ;-))

And, of course, you mention that being as a "part time" gig, but how would that money increase proportionally if they were to go "full time"? Does it mean that if the person was suddenly freed up to make two or three podcasts that the money would double or triple? I'm not sure the curve would be constant in that respect? Would it? I don't know.

To conclude, you make a reference to journo's pay rates. I actually had a little spiel prepared on how even a freelance journo, working part time, can easily knock together $12,000 several times over during the course of a year, but I thought the math might be a little close to the bone for my freelance cousins (eg: discussing pay rates, etc), so I'll err on the side of not publishing but, take my word for it, even a freelancer can do quite well, let along fulltime journo's, mate. We're OK! :-)

Simon Sharwood

Not so sure the NM audience up therefore MSM media audience down equation is so simple.
I bet if you go back into the archives, fifty years ago people were predicting that TV would kill newspapers by taking away all their ad revenue.
Didn't happen, did it?
Newspapers already display remarkable resilience. Many, like the SMH, have already mutated to cope with Australia's tendency to read magazines galore. The SMH's response is to run its own magazines: that's what all those tabloid liftouts are for.
And of course, MSM runs our most popular websites, and is nicheing them down with NM-style readers.
Bottom line? Businesses like Fairfax and news have been around for decades. 17.5 decades for Fairfax. Nothing lasts that long without being able to adapt to new circumstances.

Stuart Kennedy

Dear Cameron,

Thanks for calling me crusty, I take that as a compliment after twenty odd years in journalism.
Since it's probably your two bob paying the freight on your website, you are entitled to your many and well worn opinions on journalism, blogging, podding, old media, new media, citizen media and whatever. I will leave you and your readers to them.
My objection is to your lack of accuracy in reporting statements made by me in a closed session to a PR audience at the MediaConnect function in Coolum. You have taken me to task from the comfort of your blog over a statement made by me during a panel discussion on online news, where I note, despite plenty of opportunity, you had nothing to say.
For the record, I did not say "that only 14-year old pimply kids are reading blogs." What I rhetorically asked, in the context of a general discussion about the relationship between readership quality, real news and the tendency for some IT news sites to post more than a balanced number of stories about iPods and Google to drive raw traffic volumes, was who do you want to reach - IT decision makers or "some nose picking 14 year old kid" who wants to read about iPods.
My 14 year old kid remark had nothing to do with blogs and excuse me for shamelessly promoting the virtues of The Australian's IT section, but that is my job.
Lastly, a few words of advice from a crusty old media type to a newly minted member of the citizen media. Hop down to the newsagent and buy yourself a pen and pad. These two little items will work wonders with your accuracy when it comes to quoting people correctly on your blog.
Regards, Stuart Kennedy

Cameron Reilly

Stuart, if you read what I wrote again, you'll notice I never quoted you as saying only 14 year old kids read blogs. I said guys LIKE you like to suggest such things. And trust me, I've met a bunch. And I did say you made "an endless series of snide remarks about citizen media, blogging, bloggers and podcasting", but I notice you didn't correct me on that bit.

So, if it's all the same to you, I'll skip using the tree products, and stick to my Tablet PC for taking notes. Cheers!


Stuart Kennedy

Split hairs all you like, Cameron, if it makes you feel better.
If you are unable to make accurate notes with a pen and pad, or a tablet PC, then it might be an idea to switch on the voice recorder.
As for the rest, as I said in my last response, I'm not here to correct your opinions about what I said or anything else.
Opinions are like arseholes, everybody's got one.
Cheers

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