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Doug Hardy

Sad. Reality here is that "digital journalist" certainly means "freelancer," but calling them "scabs" assumes that the mainstream or "analog" journalists are unionized and have some level of bargaining power. By and large, that is not the case. Professional reporters, editors, and producers have few rights in the workplace, and we are treated as such.

The "digital journalist" may be a better situation yet than a "freelancer," who depends on another publication. That's not to be confused with the "blogger," who tends to comment rather than report.

Publish and market your own product and generate your own revenue. Go after it. Truth is, it can be done and it's obvious when people really are attacking a marketplace. It's difficult but getting easier. Essentially, we can no longer trust old management structures and ad reps to figure out how to generate revenue for our industry anymore. That's all there is to it.

It is patently ridiculous for anyone - analog or digitized - in this industry to think they can continue to operate the same way they did for decades when their business models have so obviously failed.

That's not to say the announcement from ABC isn't also ridiculous. Unfortunately corporations are all too willing to exploit the folks who are trying to find a way to save the journalism industry. Shame on them.

Mike Whatley

This piece is like so many written by those who live in fear. Not necessarily the author rather the many who lament the change sweeping the media.

"I wonder whether graduate schools of journalism now produce journalists or digital journalists" Yes they are. See this interesting pgm: http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=ac48t3fnkswg_78dsfw6zcf

"And can someone go from being a journalist to being a digital journalist,?" Those that don't won't eat or will move to another field.

So while some blogs champion the "Citizen journalist" -- (I thought Berkley types loved the "empowerment" of the net!?!) others cling to a model that is already gone. .

The corporate bashing title of the piece is an attention grabber, but irrelevant. Indeed a scab is an analog concept in this model. No reporter? No problem. We've got em beating down the digital door!

Marx told us everything was going to be great once the workers had the tools of production in their hands. But he couldn't have foreseen the disruptive nature of the net.

All that said, there is little doubt the demise of daily journalism is disturbing. But that's all it is. Move on or be left in the analog dust.

Cheers from Southern Calif.


They aren't outsourcing to India - yet.

So while all the manufacturing jobs went to Mexico, then China,

But those were rednecks from factory towns.

H1-B's came in to write software (maybe they can edit stories and videos too),

But those were the insufferably smart tech kids.

CNBC cheered every time any big corporation announced massive layoffs since that would improve their bottom line - this quarter.

Journalists were echoing Clinton's then Bush's line on free trade and how we all prosper when Wall St. meets this quarter's expectation.

Meanwhile there was little actual journalism. Defense contractors and the mercenary companies are raping the taxpayer, but that never bubbles up since we can't say anything bad about the war (unless it is shocking like Abu Gharib). We can't discuss immigration except in the context of these poor oppressed workers and never mention the drug gangs. Lots of people saw the mortgage crash coming and all the CDOs - they were easy to find but not in the mainstream media.

And Obama is so beloved, if a whistleblower found evidence of criminal wrongdoing (apparently they have - the tax-cheat treasury sec apparently did some illegal funny business surrounding Lehman as they were approaching collapse - I didn't hear it on the networks or read it in the traditional papers).

The media produce industrial grade ISO-9000 certified uniformly mushy entertainment. News included. Nothing too challenging (actually a few Law and Order episodes have covered issues I will never see on the evening news - there are oases in the cable wasteland).

People can still tell the difference between a Big Mac Meal and a fine steak with all the trimmings. The media dumbed itself down and provided junk food for the mind. Fox News and MSNBC are like comparing Taco Bell and Wendy's to a real restaurant. They are opponents, but in a race to the bottom. (Where did I hear about Hannity's cheating the Troops out of scholarship money from his freedom concerts? Not on Olberman - not anywhere mainstream).

It may have been a decade since I watched ABC news. I occasionally find a paper and rarely does it have a good article. There is nothing there I trust or find informative.

Good riddance. They have only kept it around as some kind of old ritual whose purpose they have forgotten. They have the talking head and the remote reporter, and they speak lines. But they don't inform and aren't that entertaining.

Breaking news? Go to drudgereport.com.

But don't you really think I would be in front of my TV for the entire newscast every night if they actually reported real news? That they investigated? That they were about truth, not pleasing both parties? Not spiking important stories? You Betcha. But I don't expect it to happen in my lifetime, well until some internet stream TV becomes like drudge.

Jim Long

I blog. I tweet like a freakin' ROCK STAR. I know all the right people in the digital world. I shoot. I write. I edit on Final Cut Pro. I've been ON camera and behind it. I develop new content ideas. I am a BADASS DIGITAL JOURNALIST.

BUT, I am also a dues paying member of NABET Local 31 (former shop steward in fact). Look, I'll do whatever I'm asked and beyond - as long as I get paid by the hour and I get overtime. Otherwise, I'm open salary discussions.

And for all the BLAH BLAH BLAH, "business imperative" talk... puh-LEEZE - Broadcast upfronts set to rake in an anticpated $8.26 billion in ad revenue this year?? That's up 20% from last year. TV - that old kind - ain't nearly dead yet.


Patrick Anonymous

I worked on the web site development team at a top 10 newspaper in the early part of this decade. Here is how the journalists, backed by the union, spent their energy while I worked there:

1. Delaying by 2 years a project to enable reader commenting on stories. Rationale: Only signed letters are run in print; online reader comments are inherently anonymous.

2. Using agreed work rules and social ostracization of sympathetic journalists to delay the launch of a blog network by over a year.

3. Refused to enter exclusive stories in the online publishing tool, preferring that content ran first in the print edition - in order to preserve that all important "print scoop" over our cross-town rivals.

4. Photojournalists routinely refused to shoot video. Regular journalists routinely refused to shoot photos or video. Neither would use their expensive GPS devices to capture the geocoordinates of the location of a story.

These are the highlights. What's more difficult to describe is the day in, day out contempt for web publishing, for blogging, and for those who worked on the digital side of the paper.

This isn't to say that management wasn't also idiotic. I remember warning them that Craigslist was going to destroy their classifieds section long before that site had a local presence. Did they do anything to compete (free online classifieds might have preserved huge amounts of marketshare)? No. Morons.

The last I heard, the newsroom staff is half the size of when I worked at the paper.

Bottom line - newspapers up through the 90s had an effective monopoly on mass distribution of daily print content. That ended, and journalists behaved like General Motor's unionized workers in the face of Japanese competition. You buried your head in the sand and held on to the old way of doing things for as long as possible. Now you're paying the price. I feel bad for journalists. I think, like everyone, you deserve to earn a decent living. However, the way forward isn't to scorn "digital journalism" and all that it stands for. I would have thought you'd learned that lesson by now, but apparently not. So let me put it to you bluntly: the way journalism once worked was mix of valid, ethical practice and archaic rules that are largely a hoary, encrusted artifact of the prior medium (print) and it's consequent business model (pay-per-CPM advertising + pay-per-word classifieds). Y'all need to be a bit more open minded. Because even today, I see little evidence than most in the profession can tell the two apart.


Our intrepid Journalist asks
does the journalist have to downgrade his or her reporting and communications skills first?

Why downgrad? Why not upgrade?

Jim Long

Patrick Anonymous - I'm sorry you feel the need to hide behind anonymity and I'm sorry you experience with working alongside union employees appears less than impressive. But I certainly hope you're not lumping ME with the people you referenced in your comments. Because if you are, you didn't listen to thing I had to say. I EMBRACE digital journalism. Hell, I was an early adopter of much of this long before my employer. I just want to be able to make a living for me and my family doing it. Don't you DARE for one second think that I'm some oafish, vestigial artifact of a nostalgic, bygone era of big (analog) media. Hiding behind anonymous comments is pretty weak by my estimation.

Sylvia Paull


It's obviously about the money, not the medium. And if people were (and some still are) willing to pay for print, why wouldn't they be willing to pay for the same content online? The NY Times will find out once it launches its paid online subscription plan, and if successful, this could prove a turning point.


I realize I'm late to this but I made a higher salary online than I did in print, by a significant margin. Still do. (And I had eight years experience and was at a well-paying newspaper when I switched.)

ABC may well be full of it but there is a very real difference in how journalism is practiced online than for a printed paper, just as there's a difference in writing for say Bloomberg terminal subscribers than Time readers. Mike Arrington's post on "Process journalism" said it fairly well.

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