Adapt Or Die

I was reading the Bleat this morning and James Lileks posted a link to a column from a fellow Star-Tribune journalist, Nick Coleman. Mr. Lileks has some collegial respect for the man, since they both work for the same paper, and refrains from any personal comments. I do not work for the same paper, and I won't.

Nick Coleman is an elitist asshat. He falls dead square into the category of journalists lately decrying that bloggers have no standards or accountability or ethics or professionalism. I have read much of this kind of bogus rant lately, and decided that the pathetic cries of people unwilling to adapt to the world as it is and is becoming just aren't all that interesting. However, Mr. Coleman makes one additional, fatal mistake. He accuses the entire rest of the world of not knowing as much as professional journalists do. Think I'm kidding?

Bloggers don't know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon.
Gee, there's no level of elitist condescension in that statement, is there? Now, I'm willing to give Mr. Coleman some credit. He claims knowledge due to his age and the fact that he, as a journalist, has covered events. Neat. I'll grant he might have learned something by watching as other people did things. It'd be nice if he gave the rest of the world some credit. I've never been a journalist, so I've never 'covered' anything in my life. I have, however, been places and done things, which one might presume gave me a certain level of knowledge and insight. However, all of that previous life experience is irrelevant since all us ignunt bloggers knew nothing before we sat down in front of out PCs. Yes, all you bloggers out there with lives and professions and hobbies and skills knew nothing, NOTHING, before you sat down to blog in Mr. Coleman's world.
In one sense, this is an indictment of Mr. Coleman's profession. If we know nothing, could it be because journalists have done a remarkably poor job of informing us? Well, maybe, but we'll skip that critique for today. In a very real sense, that critique is made every time a blog points out omission, bias, and error in the work of 'professional' journalists. I don't need to hammer that point home anymore, do I? Dan Rather has made it redundant.

The point I'd like to make, (besides 'Nick Coleman is an asshat'), is: his attitude is killing the legacy media. The whole 'we know more than you, so sit down and shut up' paradigm is shattering before our very eyes. Events over the past year have made it painfully obvious that the media establishment in the aggregate knows less than the public does in the aggregate. Blogs and the internet let people pool that knowledge and enable them to come closer to understanding the truth, without the need for professional gatekeepers to arbitrate the final result. It also lets people concentrate on issues that are important to them, not what the great minds of journalism tell us we should be interested in. Apparently, the prospect is too much for many journalists to handle, so they write pity party pieces about how the brave new world is awful and bloggers need to shut up.

Well, blogs aren't going away, so maybe all the whiny asshat journalists need to get a clue. Maybe, instead of whining, you could do something like examining the phenomenon with an open mind. Then you could reposition yourself and your organizations to use your competitive advantage to the fullest. Maybe then you won't end up unemployed under a freeway overpass begging for change and holding up signs like "Will Condescend For Food". In other words, do what the rest of us do. Modify your paradigm to the changing environment, or face irrelevance and obsolescence. The need for information won't go away, so some other model will develop to supply it if the legacy media continue to mangle the job.


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