Saturday, April 25, 2009

Quote For The Day

From the archives.

In the end, then, whatever the media platform, what it means to be a journalist today is what it always has meant...It's not a matter of training...It's a matter of trust. ~Athens Banner Herald Editorial Page Editor Jim Thompson 1-3-08


ATLmalcontent said...

The Athens Banner-Herald has spoken. Case closed.

Why is experience an offensive concept? It matters regardless of the profession.

griftdrift said...

It's not offensive. And of course it matters.

But really. If it is the end all and be all, as seems to be your position, exactly how do you find new voices.

Once again you want to make a complex topic binary. It would be nice if we could get past either or.

griftdrift said...

And note how easily I could say,

"ATLMalcontent has spoken. Case closed"

With every utterance you reinforce the position that no matter who says it or no matter how relevant or no matter if if contradicts your statements, you will never be satisfied.

Have fun with your dogma.

ATLmalcontent said...

Yeah, I'm the hostile one.

You dismiss experience categorically, and by citing this Banner-Herald's editor's quote you reinforce it. (I'm curious -- was he playing to the crowd when he said that?)

I'm in favor of new voices, but they have to prove themselves. I'm much better at reporting stories now than when I started. And it's not a matter of just observing something and writing it down.

Finally, I didn't single you out as one who hasn't proven himself. But most bloggers seem to think that trust comes with their own url.

griftdrift said...

You're not only the hostile one, you're the dishonest one.

Let's take a look at how I "dismiss experience categorically". From your very blog.

"When it comes to qualifications, experience and even the craft, Jim runs circles around me."

I am in no mood for this shit today.

ATLmalcontent said...

If you agree that Walls, for one, is more experienced, and that experience matters, why cite the quote from the ABH? I'm challenging your point and you call me dishonest, citing a comment that contradicts the very quote you posted. I'm confused, and I say that aware it'll open the floodgates to the usual insults from the acolytes. I'll move on.

griftdrift said...

He said "training" not "experience" you fucking reading challenged troll.

ATLmalcontent said...

And what is the distinction? How does one acquire experience without training? It's the "I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night" argument.

In the course of this "debate" you've called me a liar and a fucking illiterate troll. Surely I have better things to do with my time.

Sara said...

"How does one acquire experience without training?" They are not synonymous. While experience may confer training, training certainly does not confer experience. Those who graduate with an MBA have several years of training, but may have no practical experience running a business at all. On the other hand, a high school dropout could become an incredibly successful business owner by working hard at a new business venture and learning from his mistakes along the way.

Good bloggers are much like the self-made business owner. Some might have formal journalism trianing, but some might have overcome the lack of formal training by developing their experience. They go out and find compelling stories, they follow the right standards, they publish excellent writing and they work incredibly hard to do it right and emulate those in their field who they admire. They hopefully then acquire the trust of their readers.

You're incredibly wrong if you think bloggers expect public trust by virtue of having a blog. Most bloggers I know recognize that they have to work exponentially harder than a newspaper reporter to gain the trust of their readers. We are far easier to dismiss if we can't give the reader obvious indicia of trustworthiness, which newspaper reporters enjoy simply by having a byline.

It's painfully obvious that you don't believe a blogger can ever acquire sufficient experience without a journalism degree and years of working in traditional news media to be worthy of your professional respect. I really don't know why you continue to seem surprised that bloggers who do work their asses off to gain experience and demonstrate that they are worthy of respect take offense at your position.

ATLmalcontent said...


You make some good points, though you'll be disappointed to learn I don't have a journalism degree. The examples you cite leave out the fact that those self-made types learned from those who came before them.

My experience came first-hand, starting at a newspaper while still in high school. This is not a self-taught profession -- without the guidance of many seasoned editors and reporters over the years I never would've made it.

Such training is vital, and it's too easily dismissed by many -- not all -- in the blogosphere. Turning around a well-sourced, well-written story in a few hours is not something anyone can do, and I'd be quite arrogant to say I'm always successful at it. But I'm better than I was five, 10, 15 years ago.

The bloggers who doggedly report verifiable facts and throughly review tedious government records tend to have some sort of journalism background. There are exceptions.

As someone who's blogged for nearly four years, I see good and bad in the new media. Categorically dismissing the time-honored standards and practices of journalism -- an imperfect field, like all professions -- is one of the problems.

"We are far easier to dismiss if we can't give the reader obvious indicia of trustworthiness, which newspaper reporters enjoy simply by having a byline."

"Simply having a byline" isn't that simple. Most reporters -- 99 percent of them -- start out at backwater dailies or weeklies, earning little more than $20,000. You work nights and weekends for years and slowly progress up the ladder -- a progression that's become much more challenging with a shrinking pool of jobs.

You may well be worthy of "journalistic respect" (and I do respect that you kept this debate free of name-calling) but you can't deny there's many bloggers who go on the defensive whenever challenged.

Such challenges arise daily in newsrooms. There's consequences when you get it wrong, or get it last. Bloggers who want to be taken seriously shouldn't shirk the debate by pointing out mainstream journalism's (admitted) flaws while refusing to acknowledge any of their own.

griftdrift said...

I want to respond but frankly I just don't give a damn any more.

Those who've actually read what I've written over the last three years know what I've actually said and my actual feelings on the subject.

Unknown said...

It scares me that this guy is a long-term journalist. He is the only blogger who ever indicated that he was about to ban me. I left on my own.

Before I get started, I am hardly an acolyte of Grift's, as both he and Sara can attest. Hell, they don't even like me.

"I'm the hostile one" - nothing like a red herring, you weren't called hostile

"trust comes with their own url." - you seem to think it comes with a byline in a paper

" citing a comment that contradicts the very quote you posted" - proving you don't need logic or reading comprehension to be a journalist

"I'm confused" - we agree

"Surely I have better things to do with my time." - almost always said by those who do not, evidenced by your return to this post

"And what is the distinction?" - accuracy in quoting for one. “experience” and “training” are nor synonymous