It’s not journalism – Los Angeles Times: A study in history here. I worked for the Orange County Register, which is/was the second largest newspaper in California, but always played second fiddle to the LA Times. The OC Register was the Gizmodo to the LA Time’s “Engadget.” We tried to be hip and relevant, but in the end it was always predicated on reaction to our neighbors up north.
That isn’t to say OCR wasn’t a good paper. We had great writers (most of whom have left since), and a really strong technology arm that was hugely innovative on the Internet (most of whom have left since).
Anyhow, I read this article in the LA Times and it was deja vu to conversations that we had at OCR back in 1996!
“We don’t need a discussion forum, people shouldn’t talk back to us.”
“We are reporters, the readers can send comments to the ombudsman”
“You mean anyone can post?”
Most of this came about from implementing this site, and the predecessor to this, which we called “Dialog.”
Newspapers are clinging desperately to the pedestal of their ivory tower. They have operated for hundreds of years now as the bastion of what people should know, and the filters of how they should know it. The morphology of their very being was to enforce the hegemony of the informative elite: I couldn’t make a paper on the scale of the LA Times if I tried.
But I could make a site on that scope.
And so could Google.
And the users could be back in control because the actual morphological construction that enables the information to BE is the same manner of construction that enables people to BE.
Its being of and through text, and when people and information are of and through text, that whole notion of hierarchy and hegemony dissolves into nothingness. That scares newspapers, just as it scares musicians, actors, artists, producers, writers and others who are dependent of the construction of an Us/Them wall.
The LA Times editorial is not surprising. Its the smug, blind and irrelevant commentary you’d expect from an old oligarc nearing the end of their usable lifespan. Let the LA Times and their ilk sit on their towers, and spit their pearls of “wisdom” to the populace at large.
And in the meantime, we have Newsvine, Digg, Google News, Techmeme, TMZ, Perez Hilton, Weblogs Inc, Gawker Media, BoingBoing, etc, etc to provide the noise from which we can filter.