Friday, May 25, 2007


I posted this as a response to Ajit Jaoker's post on his excellent OpenGardens blog. You won't read my response there because it was written as a reply to Ajit posting the same item on Forum Oxford, which we both belong to.
Anyway, since it was so relevant to the content of this blog - I thought I ought to record it here, too.

As a journalist (at least that was how I once described myself) of almost 20 years experience, it's hard for me to admit - but the role of the pro is being marginalised by the wisdom of crowds.
But as an evangelist for the new ecology - it makes me excited about the future.
There are some areas where the pro still has advantages - notably access to exclusives and trust with traditional advertisers - but as I've argued in this post (niche brands need ugc, broad brands need ultra exclusives) - when the whole world is a blogger there's no way you have enough control to claim an exclusive.
And over time advertisers will learn that the trust is vested in the community not the brand itself. Response rates will teach them,
But there's an argument that the relevance of the professional journalist lives on - for 'journalist' read blogger. For 'professional' read reputation systems. For 'Highly resourced' read community-funded.
Simply: The professional journalist of yesteryear is being replaced by a community-validated blogger, who gets paid through models like ohmynews or, less-aggregated, google adsense etc.
If his community grows large enough to support his efforts full time - he can perform this role full time.
Journalist2.0 lives and dies by his relevance to his community and reputation as judged by all (now everyone is his employer).
And there is no professional or technical barrier to entry.
One conclusion to draw is that the arrival of blogging deprofessionalises journalism. It makes it something anyone can do and anyone can contribute to.
That's why the likes of Alan Moore describe the arrival of the blogging platform as being as significant as Gutenburg and his printing press. It's all about the decentralisation, the relaxation of control, on information.
We should all end up with a closer approximation of the truth.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?