Monday, May 18, 2009

Shel Holtz on the need for pro journalists

journalist-1.pngI've written before about the evolution of the news business, particularly the problems facing newspapers and TV - the so-called mainstream media - in these tough financial times.

While I am a fan of the increasing use of social media for getting messages out, creating conversations and analyzing important issues, I am not comfortable with the argument that old-style journalism is increasingly irrelevant.

Shel Holtz is an influential PR professional, who is well-known as an early adopter of social media and a popular blogger, podcaster, author and speaker in the PR and communications fields. In a post today, called "The continuing need for professional journalism," Shel lays out his views on why bloggers and other forms of social media (as important as they are) are not a substitute for professional journalists.

It's a great post and I recommend you read it yourself. But if you just want the wrap-up, Here's his conclusion:
The bottom line: Professional journalism is still sorely needed and won’t be replaced by social media. Instead, they will co-exist, complement one another, and ultimately produce a new ecosystem of news in which both forms of reporting play an integral part. The notion that bloggers eliminate the need for voices like Seymour Hersch, Ernie Pyle, or Edward R. Murrow (go rewatch “Harvest of Shame” and tell me anybody without training and professional standards could duplicate it.)

Where great journalism will be practiced remains an open question.... I’m confident that one or more models ultimately will prove effective and the rigor and professionalism journalists bring to the table will continue to provide a valuable mix to the enlarged world of news coverage. I hope I’m right. Without it—despite the smug assertions by bloggers that they can pick up the mantle and deliver us to a true golden age of journalism—we’re sunk without it.

Good stuff.

The photo was taken from Shel's post.

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