Shut Up And Listen, Says Journalist

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Want to know what many, many print journalists feel about the big, brave world of blogging and Web 2.0? Read this rant on dialogue with readers by Joel Stein:

Here’s what my Internet-fearing editors have failed to understand: I don’t want to talk to you; I want to talk at you. A column is not my attempt to engage in a conversation with you. I have more than enough people to converse with. And I don’t listen to them either. That sound on the phone, Mom, is me typing.

While this is meant to be amusing (and is pretty blatant link bait), like much humour, it’s founded in truth. I’ve had journalists I’ve worked with say things very, very similar to that.

Of course, the crucial point here is not what he wants to do, it what his readers want him to do. If they’re happy just reading him and not maintaining any sort of dialogue, Stein, and journalists like him, will still have a job in five years. if the audience decides that dialogue is something they want, he’s in trouble.

He continues:

A lot of e-mail screeds argue that, in return for the privilege of broadcasting my opinion, I have the responsibility to listen to you. I don’t. No more than you have a responsibility to read me. I’m not an elected servant. I’m an arrogant, solipsistic, attention-needy freak who pretends to have an opinion about everything.

Ah, well then. He does have the crucial characteristics needed to be a blogger�


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[Via Falling Off A Blog]

Technorati Tags: blogging, blogs, comments, conversations, [joel stein]( stein), journalism, journalists, publishing, [web 2.0]( 2.0)

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.