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The 'Nobility' of Amateur Journalism

Milverton Wallace, in an essay entitled “The new Corinthians: How the Web is socialising journalism,” says:

So now we’ve come full circle: from 17th /18th century amateurism, to 19th/20th century professionalism and back to amateurism in the 21st century.

Here we use “amateur” in the noble, Corinthian sense – someone or an activity motivated by love. And therein lies the problem. Amateur ethics, motivated by love, crashes against professional ethics, driven by commercial gain. Can they be reconciled?

Yes, he says:

The momentum of change is with the new Corinthians. The open source ethos and method of work/production, which began in the periphery with collaborative software development, is moving to centre stage by way of the blogging revolution and open standards in web services.

Read it all.

3 Comments on “The 'Nobility' of Amateur Journalism”

  1. #1 Seth Finkelstein
    on Oct 15th, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Bah, humbug:

    “In mainstream media “editorial authority” is concentrated in the hands of a single, all-powerful person whereas in social media it is distributed among many voices.”

    Power law power law power law power law … Per topic, the ability to direct attention is concentrated in an A-list, which looks a lot like mainstream media, which in fact has significant overlap with mainstream media.

    I shoudn’t waste my time. It doesn’t do any good, and I’ll just get flamed :-(.

  2. #2 Dan Gillmor
    on Oct 17th, 2006 at 1:29 am

    The power law isn’t all-powerful. There’s still plenty of opportunity for new voices to come forward, to find audiences and to be heard. Your own work is evidence, from my perspective.

  3. #3 Seth Finkelstein
    on Oct 17th, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    The power law is very powerful even if not all-powerful. And while I know you mean well, it’s cruel, as I was driven to abandon my censorware decryption research in part BECAUSE I COULD NOT GET *HEARD*. To me, there is no difference beween asking a reporter for the mainstream media or an A-list blogger, for attention. If I do not get past a gatekeeper, I will speak only to a teeny-tiny itty-bitty fan audience. And y’now, it’s really patronizing to be patted on the head and told “but it’s a *fan* audience”.