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June 02, 2006

Sedate, Sober Media Professional Calls Bloggers "Stupid Poopypants Fartheads"

Well, okay, that quote is, umm, paraphrased. But sometimes (and I know this from my media professional betters) a quote needs to be juiced up a little.

I want to congratulate you all upon your graduation from the University of Maryland College of Journalism, and wish you luck as you prepare to embark on exciting careers in telemarketing or large-appliance repair. My point is, this is a challenging time for journalists.


What are your challenges, specifically? Let us begin with, quote unquote, getting a job. Good jobs in journalism have become scarce as newspapers shrink and die, broadcast media fragment to smaller niche audiences and the public appears more and more willing to receive its "news" online from nincompoops ranting in their underpants.

His attempts to be funny are, well, let us be charitable and say he "showed a lot of energy" and "has some real promise."

They feel threatened. They ought to.

It's about time they owned up to something. They're not particularly good at their jobs, and their jobs aren't particularly demanding in any event. Being a reporter, it seems, requires the following scary-advanced skills:

1) Dialing a phone number

2) Talking to people

3) Asking those people questions

4) Writing their answers down in a notepad or on a cocktail napkin

5) Putting a series of coherent sentences together to describe what you've learned

and of course

6) Larding the article up with as much political bias as possible without being blatantly obvious about it

It's true that these guys are better at these things than bloggers. But then, bloggers aren't on a straight salary, given two weeks or so to track down a story. And bloggers don't do these things every day.

I don't imagine bloggers -- or most people, as a matter of fact -- would find it difficult to learn the difficult skills of phone-dialing, schmoozing, and typing were we to simply displace these dopes in a mass employment-exchange.

A columnist, of course, has an even easier skill-set to manage. He has to read the day's news, come up with a quick opinion, and -- get this -- write that opinion down on a piece of paper and deliver that paper to his editor.

Tough gig. Not quite as hard as being a publicist for an Enuff Z'Nuff reunion tour, but still, wow, really tough.

To return to my favorite well of describing anger according to a threatened ego: they're upset because they've long considered themselves the Priesthood of Information, gifted and elite, doing a job that no more than perhaps .001% of the population could possibly do, and are now a bit miffed to find out that they're not really as gifted, elite, or special as they once thought.

It's quite true that I'm a nincompoop. And I often rant. And I often do so in my underpants. Or even not in my underpants. Sometimes I just blog wearing nothing but a baseball cap with Bullwinkle horns and strategically-placed fruit roll-ups.

And, of course, an American Cornhole Association membership badge.

It must be galling for a fashion-plate like Gene Weingarten to know that a nincompoop so dressed can manage a not-trivial fraction of his readership with no more experience or credentialing than your average ficus.

It's not that bloggers are so good. It's just that-- well, you guys don't really do anything all that difficult. And that's what really hurts, isn't it?

Let's put it to the test. Let's swap jobs for two weeks. Let's see if a blogger can -- given the slight head-start of being assigned a tip or story -- can manage a publishable news article in fourteen days. And let's see if an MSM genius can manage a blog that draws decent traffic, interest, and reviews over that same period. For a headstart, they get to take over an established blog with decent readership.

To be honest, I think both will be more or less successful, but I think the blogger will come out ahead on points.

Because what you're doing just ain't that tough.

Anyone in media-land up for the Ace of Spades Cornhole Classic Job-Swap Challenge?

I doubt it. They know, deep inside, that they're doing a fairly easy job.

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posted by Ace at 04:49 PM

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