Smug Alert now in effect for all parts of Old Media: Bloggers who are amateur journalists can displace journalists who are amateur topic experts 6/26/07Posted by Steve Boriss in Amateur, Professionalism.
It is becoming fashionable in some circles to dismiss blogging and other user-generated content as the work of mere “amateurs” that threatens the vital information we now receive from professional journalists. This concept got a boost from a book released earlier this month, “The Cult of the Amateur” by Andrew Keen, who is interviewed by Business Week here.
But before we throw the “A-word” around, let’s think a little bit about who the amateurs are, accepting for the moment the arguable assumption that journalism is a true profession. Most who write for Old Media are professional journalists, but amateurs in the topics they write about. By contrast, most of the leading, elite bloggers are experts in their specialized topic areas, but amateurs in journalism. Is the public really better off reading amateur-grade information from journalists rather than professional-grade information from non-journalists? More to the point, will they prefer it?
Fortunately, there are simple precautions journalists can take to avoid fatal cases of smug — pick a topic area and become an expert in it. Better yet, become a global expert.