No, Technology Doesn't Replace Reporting... But Who Said It Did?
from the tools-vs.-activity dept
A bunch of folks have been sending in Roger Cohen's NY Times Op-Ed basically mocking those who claim that Twitter is replacing journalism. The only problem? It's not clear anyone is actually doing that. I actually agree with much of Cohen's op-ed, but it seems to be setting itself up against a strawman that doesn't exist. No one's saying that Twitter replaces journalism. Just that it (and blogs and social networks and a variety of other new tools) help change the overall landscape that is journalism. So, when Cohen writes:
For journalism is distillation. It is a choice of material, whether in words or image, made in pursuit of presenting the truest and fairest, most vivid and complete representation of a situation.I agree. But I don't see how that says anything bad about Twitter or participatory journalism at all. In fact, it just reminds me of why the larger ecosystem allows more wonderful things to happen thanks to these new tools. Of course there's still an important role for distilling all of the info. Of course there's still a huge role for professional journalists. I don't think anyone denies that. But that's not a condemnation of Twitter or the fact that it's being used by many as a part of the journalism process. It just highlights how there's a bigger ecosystem of data and information for the professional journalists to distill. And it would be great if they did that instead of spending so much time fretting about the rise of these tools instead.
It comes into being only through an organizing intelligence, an organizing sensibility. It depends on form, an unfashionable little word, without which significance is lost to chaos. As Aristotle suggested more than two millennia ago, form requires a beginning and middle and end. It demands unity of theme. Journalism cuts through the atwitter state to thematic coherence.