The Real Paul Jones

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Converge fallout in NandO

I blogged a little about the sessions that I attended at the ConvergeSouth conference on Saturday. After seeing the discussion at the News and Observer Editor’s blog, I wish I could have made it over on Friday too. There NandO editor Melanie Sill opines on the filtering role of newspapers based in part on her reaction to Ted Vaden’s blogging about Jay Rosen’s talk at Converge (got all of that? good because there’s more).
But Sill hears back from Rosen in the comments (and others). There’s also a broken Trackback to Ed Cone’s blog.

Now that’s blogging for you.

[This post is also on the JOMC191 site]

1 Comment

  1. I added some more at Melanie Sill’s blog, Paul…

    More at the N & O Editor’s blog…

    10/11/05 at 23:37
    Let me explain a little more about what a “filter from god” means. First, being an intelligent filter is part of journalism’s job. You, Melanie, are acting as a filter when you sit in a afternoon newsroom meeting and decide what makes up the front page. To employ the image of a filter is another way of talking about judgment as an inesapable part of journalism.

    Nonetheless, if I asked something like, “What program are you running for filtering news of Raleigh Durham?” or “What are you filtering for when you edit the news?” or, more crudely, “What’s the bias in your filter, Melanie?” the chances are you not going to have a very informative answer.

    If I am wrong, I shall be delighted. Because the most common answers barely acknowledge the question. “Why, we filter for news, son.” “We filter for what’s important, current, interesting.” “Bias in the filter? We try to make sure we have no bias in our filter.” “It’s what people need to know, and want to read about. That’s our filter.” “We’re professionals, we know how to filter.” “I think people trust us to filter the news– more than they do the bloggers.” “Our sports pages are filtered by a guy who has been around North Carolina sports for 29 years, so I think he’s a pretty good filter by now…” And so on.

    You get my drift? Those are safe answers, common sense answers, very very general answers– and all non-answers. On the Internet people don’t mind if there’s a bias in the filter. In fact, they will patronize your site for that very reason. See, for a successful example, slashdot. (“News for nerds…”) This does not mean you should become like them. It means that to be succesful on the Web, you have to be an intelligent filter– and that means interactive too.

    Another way to say this: when it comes to explaining the kind of “intelligent filter” your typical daily newspaper is trying to be, American journalists give answers that amount to arguing from authority, even though they don’t see themselves as “god.” Their view is never partial, like a person’s, but “general”– like a god’s. This used to be an advantage. Increasingly it works against.

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