It must be the new tabloid format. Or perhaps Steven Joyce talking about the death of print news. On Friday John Drinnan highlighted APN-internal media spats speaking of “Frenemies”; today John Armstrong launches forth at so-called bloggers Gordan Campbell and Bryce Edwards.
Armstrong’s article does mark a change; no longer is it blogs attacking the MSM, now its the MSM attacking the blogs. Interestingly, Armstrong seemed most concerned about Bryce Edwards, implicitly threatening him with the worst of all Armstrong curses, that he is “unlikely to please National.”
Edwards’ blog is the extreme example of the fact that most blogsites rely on the mainstream media for their information and then use that information to criticise the media for not stressing something enough or deliberately hiding it.
Unlike the mainstream media, the blogs are not subject to accuracy or taste – and sometimes even the law.
It is the ultimate parasitical relationship. And it will not change until the media start charging for use of their material.
Armstrong is the second senior Herald journalist to have a go at Edwards, who features regularly on the Herald website although not in the print edition. Fran O’Sullivan has also been at it on her Facebook page here and here.
I’m grateful to Fran for the personal compliments, and have made the same to her in the past on this blog. But I think that both she and John Armstrong are engaged in what one might call “transition thrash.” The bleat that bloggers only use mainstream media for their information is increasingly untrue; most credible bloggers have experience and expertise of their own, and more and more blogs are communal, places for interaction and discussion. Trolling also seems on the way out.
O’Sullivan’s call for Bryce Edwards to be banned, and Armstrong’s for the media to start charging for the use of their material are more like the ” pair of tut-tutting old dowagers gossiping in the salons” than Campbell and Edwards.
Edwards’ contribution to the Herald website is likely to be retained precisely because he assembles a wealth of material from a wide range of sources, not just the mainstream. He links it intelligently, and enables the reader to access all or some of it for themselves. It’s interesting. If he sometimes reveals political elements that might be called personal, well so do Fran and John. More often than Bryce, in fact. Harden up.
To be fair to John Armstrong, as a print journalist he sometime suffers from his headliners. This article was headlined in the print edition “Putin handshake a win for Key.’ My snort of derision blew the windows out.
Citizen journalism and the web are undoubtedly offering a challenge to the old hands. Some are coping better than others.