Just beneath the surface of convergence and newsroom transformation, lies a darker, more cynical view of changes within newsrooms.
And, unfortunately, that darkness could drag newspapers efforts to adapt into the abyss.
Consider this from a recent survey of sportswriters about blogging. One longtime sportswriter said:
It’s the worst kind of insidious, stupid-creep to have ever infected our profession. Blogging blurs the lines between journalism and pajama-wearing nitwits sitting in their mother’s basements firing off bile-filled opinions. Newspaper editors and managers sit around at meetings and wonder why their circulation is falling and they have themselves to blame for lowering all of us into the foul-smelling muck of the blogworld.
The above was described as the strongest responses of the 150 respondents to a University of Mississippi survey on sports blogging, but it may reflect the view of many. The survey results as well as an analysis were sent to participants last week.
Fifty-three percent said blogging was a top down initiative, but most were involved in blogging in some way.
Sixty-four percent either disagreed or strongly disagreed that blogging increases audience.
Forty-two percent said blogging is not making an important contribution to their media outlet’s sports coverage.
Sixty-five percent see no chance of blogging replacing traditional coverage.
The survey’s summary said:
This negative attitude was fairly consistent, both in terms of qualitative and quantitative response, which suggests that respondents were actively resisting any possible changes associated with blogging.
One of the conclusions in the survey analysis was:
Perhaps even more importantly, most journalists did not perceive a value in blogging, in terms of increasing audiences, contributing to their media outlet or in their own professional development. It might be more correct to say that even when journalists saw value in blogging, they believed that value was offset by additional problems.