Over the last several years, I've posted many times chastising bloggers for positing that we don't need mainstream media. I still feel it's necessary, and I feel that there are some elements of of mainstream media that are trying hard to
exploit cooperate with the blogging world.
However, the recent events with mainstream media in Belgium - where major media went to court to stop Google from letting people know they exist - shows that there are not insignificant portions of mainstream media that are dangerously underinformed about the modern flow of information.
The NYT quotes:
“Today we celebrate a victory for content producers,” said Margaret Boribon, secretary-general of Copiepresse. “We showed that Google cannot make profit for free from the credibility of our newspaper brands, hard work of our journalists and skill of our photographers.”
And, as a victory for the rest of the world, we will all no longer read any news generated from Belgium.
The other side of Mainstream Media's battle against itself comes from a repeated argument against the validity of blogging by mainstream media representatives. This argument goes something like, "Blog entries are poorly written and often misleading."
Today, I popped by Yahoo! News and a Reuters article by Joanne Allen was at the top of the list. The Article One "Bad Apple" does spoil the whole office. Is very high on the poorly written and misleading scale. And dangerously so.
This article notes that even one negative person in an office can bring down the attitude of the whole office.
Negative behavior outweighs positive behavior, so a bad apple can spoil the whole barrel, but one or two good workers can't "unspoil" it, researchers at the University of Washington said in the current issue of the journal Research in Organizational Behavior.
The fix for this? To not hire negative people.
This simplistic pap is at the top of Yahoo! News and is fed by Reuters.
In real life people can be negative on Thursday and Friday, have a good sleep over the weekend and feel better on Monday. In real life people can and often are negative for very good reasons. In real life, negative people can often help diffuse group-think and serve as a predictable loyal opposition - they can be the ones that ask hard and annoying questions that end up strengthening business models.
Do you want people in the office who are evil and intentionally ruin people's moods? Of course not.
But this article does nothing to encourage managers and co-workers to ask why someone is negative, what other value they add to their teams, and if something is systemically wrong with the company that is causing this.
Summarily executing or not hiring people we think might be negative is a foolish recommendation.
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT THAN A BAD BLOG POST
So, what would a blog post do? It might say lame underinformed things like this, but it would link to sources. Even a bad blog post would provide more source material. Perhaps the study was much deeper than this, but JoAnne was just underreporting. Maybe JoAnne interviewed the group that did the study and they didn't interview well.
Who knows? All we have to go on is a flat article with no references and no links. Even bad blog posts don't do that.
I still feel that we need mainstream media. But these are sure indications they at least need to clean house.
Blogged at my house in Seattle with Live Writer