Saturday, August 09, 2008

No better than a blogger

Over the last few days we have seen reactions of Kinsella, BCL, and BC in TO to Jonathan Kay's piece in the National Post assuring us that "You'll Miss Us When We're Gone". Kay's point is blogs cannot replace print news media:
    Not to be old-fashioned, but there are certain kinds of important stories that simply cannot be covered, except by deep-pocketed traditional media organizations employing professional journalists.
My reaction: well, yes of course. Traditional news media has many strengths, including financial resources and professional journalists. And, most imporantly, is surely the accumulated wisdom of the journalistic profession, which includes an emphasis on accuracy, fairness, and balance.

There is some irony in Kay being the one to make this point. He, together with the National Post, is currently being sued for defamation over something that Kay wrote in a blog (ahem!) hosted at the National Post site.

In writing that post, Kay used none of the generic strengths of his medium, as can be seen in his statement of defense.
    Jonathan Kay, Richard Warman
I've already discussed elsewhere how unsatisfactory his effort was, even as he describes it, which probably makes his effort look as serious as possible. It is surely to be noted, however, that the professionalism that he identifies as the great strength of traditional news media was totally absent. And what were those 'deep pockets' used for? To attend a single CHR Tribunal hearing? Hardly impressive, and in any case bloggers have been known to do as much (from both sides).

Apart from that, Kay reviewed the act, looked at a few decisions, and read a few published articles. Again, nothing beyond what a blogger might do.

Kay, despite the resources of his medium, seems to have merely repeated something that he found on the internet -- without fact-checking, access for additional sources, or an invitation of rebuttal -- and in that he was no better than a blogger.