Journalists and The Web, a Contrast

Yesterday, Feargal Keane reported on RTE Radio 1’s Drivetime that the Lisbon Refendum Commission were spending large amounts of money on advertising on Facebook and Bebo. Keane described the journalistic reaction to this at the press conference as one of guffawing and barely controlled mirth, which sounds about right. This is why young people in Ireland don’t buy newspapers.

Meanwhile in the States tonight, the political blogs are all abuzz because John Edwards is endorsing Barack Obama. In the buildup, more than one blogger writing for print publications noted the following:

“What’s Wendy Button, Edwards’s longtime speechwriter, been doing lately? I hear she’s been writing a secret speech… (Her facebook profile includes this entry for 3pm: “Wendy just finished writing the speech.”)”

In one case, the journalists not only speak the same language as their web-literate audience, but have found innovative ways of using that language in news reporting. In the other case, the journalists don’t understand the language or respect the audience, so they chuckle their way to obsolescence. This internet the kids are all talking about, it’ll never catch on, will it?


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