AK Haart has a piece up on “churnalism” and he’s not wrong. He quotes Wiki:
Churnalism has increased to the point that many stories found in the press are not original. The decline of original journalism has been associated with a corresponding rise in public relations.
It’s not just that the stories are not original – they’re churned out like pulp fiction to fill gaps. Blogs are obviously subject to this. Blogs which operate largely as magazines, bringing up interesting and relevant things, are a bit different to the ageing curmudgeon who wants to get something off his chest about what he’s read in the papers [or online version] today.
The latter is a vital part of the sphere because some of the most readable works are there. Apoplexy often results in fine insights and prose. But there’s a difference, is there not, in what we’re looking for. You’ll perhaps not be looking for “fine insights and prose” but to see what Blogger X has written about Cameron’s latest inanity or whatever.
I made the decision at inception on this blog to try to cover as much ground as possible. Many people warned me it would make the blog seem lightweight, barely touching on issues and filling the space with crap. And if you do have a wide range of topics of interest, then someone only interested in a small proportion of that is going to see the rest as garbage filler material.
Wolfie himself made that comment the other day – he wants to see X and you can keep your U, V, W and Z. Therefore, a reader is going to see such a blog as “largely crap”. Goes with the territory and the comment’s been made to me many times.
Yet there are readers who wish to read about U, V, W and Z. A case in point is Odd sax, not everyone’s cup of tea but it serves about a dozen people I know of, let alone the lurkers not known of. Now to me, that’s ample justification. If someone regularly comes in to see that and gets insights, then why the hell not?
Always I keep coming back to Tom Paine’s comment:
[It’s] rather like the Scottish weather. If you don’t like it now, just wait a few minutes.
As you’d expect, I hotly deny there is any “filler” material posted whatever. It’s more a case of about 30-40 pieces coming through at a time and skimming through to see what would be relevant to what section of the readership, then trying to work out how the hell to fit all that into a maximum six or seven posts a day. It has to have relevance or else be something entirely new.
A blogger, having no budget to send reporters out internationally, must needs rely on a huge range of sources – I’d estimate perhaps 80 or 90 on this blog on a regular basis. And within all that material flying about, there is going to be a great deal of churnalism, though Chuckles and the guys do filter before it gets to me. He doesn’t do it to feed me things, he simply includes me in his list of emails and there’s no doubt that has expanded the range of this blog.
The problem with churnalism, apart from its lack of originality, is that it clogs up the works. There might be 10 news items this day. There’ll be hundreds of articles. It threatens journalism itself, as newspapers cannot afford to send people out for original news.
Don’t know where it’s going and the sphere must continue because the greatest honesty is online.