Just read an article in this week’s New Yorker titled “AMATEUR HOUR – Journalism Without Journalists” by Nicholas Lehmann:
His basic premise is that while some are touting Internet news reporting as the new paradigm in news gathering and distribution, it has a long way to go before it can claim credentials on a peer level with tradtional journalism. Supposedly Internet journalism dispenses with the filtering, or as termed in his article, “gatekeeping” imposed by tradtional journalism editors, and allows the truth to be published. (My simplification of the article).
Of course I don’t buy that. Yes the Internet has provided a more or less level playing field and given everyone a soap box to stand on. But just because some individual with a big mouth is up on his soap box, is not enough to convince me to pay any attention to what is being said. I believe that so much that is passed off as fact, or perceived by the general Internet audience as fact, is in fact unsubstantiated by either real journalistic process, or by any accepted protocol of research based upon established scientific or academic standards.
Like the old newspaper adage, just because you read it on the Internet, whether it be in a blog, a “news” site, or a collaborative compendium of knowledge, such as Wikipedia, does not mean that it is necessarily true or accurate.
There is a great little nugget embedded near the end of Mr. Lehmann’s article, which reads: “David Weinberger, another advocate of new-media journalism, has summarized the situation with a witty play on Andy Warhol’s maxim: ‘On the Web everone will be famous to fifteen people.’“