Deborah Hill Cone: Bloggers get more bitter by the day

I can understand that print journalists harbour a certain enmity towards bloggers and those unshaven "new media" types whose office is a cafe. I doubt horse-drawn carriage artisans were big Henry Ford fans either. But what I find intriguing is how bitter and twisted "new media" types are about the rapidly atrophying old media.

The Newspaper Association of America met this week to hear Google chief executive Eric Schmidt - a cheery gathering I'll be bound - and one tech-loving blogger Jeff Jarvis posted an alternative speech he thinks the old-school print wallahs should have heard. It wasn't so much a speech as a giant raspberry. "You've had 20 years since the start of the web, 15 years since the creation of the commercial browser and Craigslist, a decade since the birth of blogs

and Google to understand the changes in the media economy ... to use the power of your megaphones while you still had it to build what would come next. But you didn't. You blew it." The print media - "angry, old, white, men" - was out of touch and arrogant and should get the hell out the way to let a new generation of net natives "who care about the news" take over.

Well, ex-squeeze me. Jarvis giving the bird to bastard bigwigs doesn't shed any light on how the media might turn a buck so we can fund quality journalism.

All this old versus new media aggro is just a distraction from the fact that neither Jarvis, nor Rupert Murdoch, nor any of the hundreds who posted responses to Jarvis' speech, has an answer for the future of journalism. So it's much easier to just snipe at each other.

In New Zealand bloggers are also getting snarky at their print counterparts. Right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, known as Whale Oil, who has broken stories including the scandal of Winston Peters' ministerial car, seems desperate to start a turf war with print journalists. He has been firing shots at journalists Jonathan Milne, Ali Ikram, and Damien Christie for daring to make controversial statements on social networking site Twitter. Presumably he

sees Twitter as his personal territory. One item was headed "More Journos make twatters of themselves" while in another Slater suggests the print journos ought to be fired. Are we really on opposite sides? I never realised I was supposed to choose which camp I belonged in. I thought I was just a journalist.

There was a fascinating story in the Herald on Sunday last week. Apparently there has been a resurgence of interest in charm schools. "Former model Rachel Parsons launched Chic Consultancy last year to train young women in deportment, the art of conversation, job interview skills, text and email etiquette - and her programme is in hot demand," the story says.

The hot demand comes from the Ministry of Social Development and the Far North Youth Transition Services which are paying for unemployed women to walk around with books on their heads. The story finds nothing remarkable about this. It is great that young women are learning the niceties of civilisation, but in tough times is funding charm school courses really the best use of taxpayers' money?

deborah@coneandco.com

- NZ Herald

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