The Future of The Future of News

Looking forward to what promises to be a lively and interesting debate on CBC Radio One tonight:

The Future Of The Future Of News – Citizen Journalism Gets Asked the Tough Questions

They're hosting a live panel discussion featuring Andrew Keen (Cluetrain-detractor and "Cult of the Amateur" author), Wikinomics researcher Rahaf Harfoush and my old friend and NowPublic co-founder Leonard Brody.

I really like the neutral, balanced way the CBC has framed this discussion in the description on their site, and I'd like to think that it will manage to stay out of the "When Bloggers Attack" mire, but I have my doubts, alas.

I caught a teaser for tonight's program on CBC's "Spark" this afternoon, with UBC Journalism student, Catherine Rolfsen, interviewing two of the panelists (Keen and Harfoush). Depressing to note that the conversation strayed all too quickly into the well-trodden and barren "us vs. them" territory.

Bah! It's AND logic, people. AND not OR, and certainly not VS.

Professional journalism and news-making is still a process. Citizen journalism is both different and complementary. Vive la difference!

Given the CBC's enthusiastic and smart adoption of social media tools and techniques, I'm really hoping they'll manage this discussion such that it stays above the pointless and hackneyed Blogs vs. MSM smackdown - surely we're past that by now?

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that one of Keen's main points in the interview earlier today was that Citizen Journalism had effectively killed the market for journalists - that the idea of "giving away one's intellectual product for free" was tolling the death knell for journalism as a career. He went so far as to suggest to the student interviewer that she should abandon all hope of a career in journalism, as there wouldn't be any such jobs by the time she entered the market.


I remember a good friend of mine - a former senior staffer at the National Post - presenting a version of this argument when I first started blogging. He couldn't understand why I would want to write so much stuff that I wasn't getting paid for.

That same bloke is now one of the most successful and well-known bloggers in his own area of expertise, and seems to have a nice extra line of income from his main blog. He's also still a practicing freelance journalist for the mainstream media, and happily navigates the two worlds with equal skill and enthusiasm.