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News without reporters? That was our past and it will be our future 12/21/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Reporters.
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One of the recurring put-downs of bloggers is that they are simply recycling someone else’s news — that there will always be a need for traditional news outlets to produce it. This simply is not true. Ironically, it is reporters who can more easily be accused of recycling someone else’s news. Typically what journalists report is news created by PR firms, politician’s press offices, think tanks, corporate public affairs divisions, whistleblowers, litigants, and anyone else with an ax to grind. And when reporters simply repeat facts, without adding analysis or opinions, they are not adding anything of news value.

To believe that news cannot exist without reporters is to believe that there was no news in America before the 1820’s when the first full-time reporter appeared. Prior to then, editors wrote their own articles blending facts with opinion, much like a blogger would. Other parties also contributed pieces, typically without requiring a fee. Some of the material came from letters from unpaid “correspondents” in other towns, and some from stories that were lifted, often without attribution or payment, from other foreign and domestic newspapers that operated similarly.

The indispensable function is the editor/aggregator, not the reporter. Reporters are repeaters. Those with a story to tell have never needed to be paid by news outlets, nor have they needed someone to write or rewrite their stories. Now that they can reach editors/aggregators directly, as can their opponents, reporters will increasingly be seen as expensive, redundant, and unnecessary middlemen.

Comments»

1. Chris Muir - 12/22/07

Interesting-I had never thought of that angle before.

History always tells.


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