Last night, the Journal-Sentinel held a convention (of sorts) for the NOW bloggers. It was well attended by about 50 writers, of every size and shape. These folks, like myself, are your community members. Some write once a month, others, 5 times a day. Some write personal blogs about their lives. Others, like myself, take a more "Citizen Journalist" route.
Apparently, that's what the Journal Sentinel really wants. We were told, 80% of the traffic to NOW sites are to read blogs.
Last night's speakers included the Publisher of the JS, Betsy Brenner, and the editor, Marty Kaiser, who spoke and took questions.
Now .. I've long bemoaned the fact that local news is but a shadow of its former self. Last night, Publisher Betsy Brenner told us how great it was for all the bloggers to be at the JS building, how appreciative they are for our efforts.
Brenner added "You are the future of journalism."
Ms. Brenner .. with all due respect, no we're not.
While some of us take citizen journalism to new heights (Al Campbell in Germantown is outstanding) .. most of us .. have day jobs.
We're hack writers. We write sporadically, inconclusively, and sometimes without all the facts. While I endeavor to be an honest broker, with limited resources of time, and willingness to put forth effort to inform our community, this doesn't always occur. We miss dozens of stories.
In short, bloggers aren’t the "future of journalism." -- We augment journalism.
It's not our job to find out what’s going on in our community. It’s not our job to cover Village Board meetings. It’s not our job to uncover fraud or corruption. It’s your job. – Bloggers may help along the way, but the daily grind of informing the public lies at the feet of "real" journalists.
That’s why I pay you to deliver a paper to my door, 365 days a year.
And since the purchase and destruction of papers like the Whitefish Bay Herald, the media is not doing its job well. And that's a terrible shame. That's not to say, I don't understand your plight. Readership and revenues are sinking, and you're laying off staff by the dozens every year.
Please find a way to cover local governments and community news. Volunteer bloggers are not the answer.
(Here's a great article on this subject, sent in by a loyal reader.)