Monday, November 14, 2005
A little more humility: You'd think that, in the wake of big disgraces like Mary Mapes and Jayson Blair and all of the other little disgraces -- like the NBC reporter canoeing through ankle-deep water, that mainstream journalists would be a little more ... chastened when throwing stones at blogs.
What separates the Union-Tribune and other mainstream newspapers from most bloggers on the Internet is the journalism of verification. There is a lot of information available on the Internet, some of it excellent, a lot of it questionable. Not everything is verified, which is the gold standard of mainstream journalism. Doesn't it make you wonder how much misinformation there is on the Internet when there isn't even a cursory effort to verify?
I know Union-Tribune ombudsman Gina Lubrano, and I like her, but I don't know which blogs she reads, if any. But last weekend's revelation in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the continuing fraud and slander by former Marine Jimmy Massey -- and newspaper after newspaper's uncritical enabling of the slanders -- tarnishes the "gold standard." Frankly, I'm not sure the gold standard ever was gold.
The blogosphere is large and diverse. Readers with a critical eye know which blogs can be trusted, because they must earn the reader's trust. Newspapers have too often taken the trust they receive merely by being large media organizations for granted. The public is more skeptical than ever at what they see on TV or read in the newspaper or newsmagazine.
The two types of media really aren't that different after all.