When You Attack the Blogosphere, Please Turn On Your Brain First
The days when old guard traditional/print media journalists could get away with (fearing and therefore) ridiculing the vast wilds of the new media are mercifully near their end.
Therefore, it’s almost stunningly baffling that David Bullard, a columnist for South Africa’s Sunday Times, could so fundamentally misunderstand what’s going on in the blogosphere today. In a hateful, condescending piece called “Name and shame offensive bloggers,” Bullard equates bloggers as “the air guitars of journalism,” written by those “who wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism.” Bullard fails to realize, of course, that many blogs are written by professional journalists and are published in online versions of mainstream media.
The biggest misconception comes when Bullard relates that all blogs focus upon the “tedious minutiae” of daily lives and muses that the growth of the blogosphere can be explained by “modern narcissism.”
While surely some blogs do fixate upon narcissistic minutiae, this ignores the teeming raft of writer/bloggers that inject serious news, personal takes, opinions, reviews, and interviews into the broader online conversation. It ignores the fact that the blogosphere is increasingly the place where people turn for news, particularly in terms of breaking news events and stories that involve technology and the online world.
The column turns nearly xenophobic at its end, referencing “some anonymous, scrofulous nerd pumping meaningless drivel into cyberspace at all hours of the day and night simply because he can’t get a girl to sleep with him.”
Vinny Lingham smartly notes that, “This is exactly the mentality that is leading to the decline of offline print as a source of information, because the people entrenched in the offline world are so resistant to change, they cannot keep up with the times.”
Bloggers Blog: “Using miscellaneous personal blogs as a comparison tool between blogs and journalism really isn’t fair to blogs.”
Vincent Maher says that David Bullard owes South Africans an apology for “a dazzling display of arrogance” and then goes on to break down (and crush) the column line by line.
Bullard’s column is called “Out to Lunch.” Indeed.