David Bullard is surely one of South Africa’s (formerly) great print journalists, and I read his weekly column in the online and print edition of the Sunday Times (which has a readership of well over 1m people) with much eager anticipation, with the exception of this week’s post on bloggers. I am not going to echo Vincent Maher’s rebuttal, except to say that outright that I think Bullard is a fool with no understanding of new media and it’s impact on society.
To quote from David’s post:
Allow me to explain what I mean. I used to play air guitar with a band called Deep Purple. My playing was perfect, I had attitude and I even smashed my air guitar at the end of the number. The reason I played air guitar is that I couldnâ€™t play real guitar very well so I was forced to dwell in this fantasy world where my guitar playing meant something only to me. I should point out that this was years ago when I was still young and foolish. These days I play air tenor saxophone, which is far more challenging.
Most blog sites are the air guitars of journalism. Theyâ€™re cobbled together by people who wouldnâ€™t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism, mainly because they have very little to say. Itâ€™s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else.
Itâ€™s even sadder when someone reads them.
Many bloggers prefer to remain anonymous and with good reason. The content of their sites is so moronic that even their best friends would disown them if they knew they were the authors.
And this piece:
These are the sort of wackos who gun down their fellow students at university.
This is exactly the mentality that is leading to the decline of offline print as a source of information, because the people entrenched in the offline world are so resistant to change, they cannot keep up with the times.
If I had to paraphrase what Bullard is saying, then basically Michael Arrington, Om Malik, Robert Scoble, Jeremy Zawodny, Danny Sullivan & Matt Cutts wouldn’t ever get hired by a print publication – (like hell) – but even more to the point, why would they want to write for a bunch of anally retentive middle to late aged complacent publications that are in a declining market. Most of the CEO’s and editors of these publications are hoping to retire before they go bust and Web 2.0 becomes and entrenched way of life – and this is probably one of the biggest drivers of their resistance to change – with maybe the exception of Rupert Murdoch.
Ok, so you may have guessed that this is one of the very few times I rant on my blog – but I think it’s insane for a well reputed journalist to write such a scathing post about something he obviously knows nothing about! Ingorance is bliss, I’m afraid…
David Bullard : Wake up and smell the coffee – just because bloggers want independence from beaurocratic print houses and leveraging the reach of the Internet, this does not make their work of a lower quality than yours! Life is about choices, and we CHOOSE not to work for print and have editors telling us what and how to write – freedom of speech is grand!! Good luck to you though!