The willful ignorance of the middle-aged

As I dig through the blowback on Jessica DaSilva's blog, it's remarkable how many self-righteous journalism dinosaurs are posting their (generally anonymous) opinions without troubling themselves to do any reporting or analysis. Scanning through these comments, I see these not-so-sage observations:

  • Blogs are a proven failure.
  • Hyperlocal journalism is a proven failure.
  • Video is a proven failure.
  • The Internet is a proven failure.
  • All our troubles would go away if we'd just quit giving away our precious content, because free content is a proven failure.

Good lord! Which is worse: Youthful naivete, or the willful ignorance of the middle-aged?


I am motivated by the fact that I need to keep up with current trends in web development and web design or I risk getting left behind. People resist change because they fear it. What the "dinosaurs" need to realize is that we're all replaceable. Those that continue to ignore the fact that traditional media can't continue to function they way it's used to, are going to eventually become extinct. I would much rather get news online. I subscribe to the paper on the weekends - my wife likes getting the sale papers + coupons - but I still read the online version. One of the best things to happen to the Augusta Chronicle's website, in my opinion, is the addition of comments on news stories. That interaction can't be ignored and can't be had with traditional print media.

Yeah, the screeching and "I'll make sure you never work in this town again! And your little dog, too!" comments were disheartening and way, way over the top. Like drowning men who flail about in a panic, clawing & biting their would-be rescuers, the commenters do themselves more harm than they do to DaSilva. I'd hire her in a second. So would most of my New Media friends that I've discussed this with. Your summing-up of the negative commenters reminds me of the brilliant "Shorter ..." posts on Sadly, No! that point out the idiocy of bloggers/media figures by reducing their messages to their core. Well done, sir. I've run across these same "All that New Media stuff is crapola and doesn't work, so why bother" attitudes way, way too many times in the last couple of years. The traditionalists snarl that they've tried all the newfangled blogging/streaming video tools and there's no money there. Reminds me of the Daily Show take on the Republican meme that "Government doesn't work, it can't solve problems." Jon Stewart's response: "Well, not the way that you do it." Hope your daring to comment on this issue doesn't result in the monkeymass descending on your comment space to yammer & fling poo. You're a braver man than I am...

In terms of years, I'm with the dinosaurs. But that's it. This young woman deserved better than the future-unemployment threats, if they really came from newsroom people. I disagree with some her ideas--I'd love to see how her thinking has changed after 5 years of hearing the same management nonsense-- and find them naive but so what? She posted her thoughts, she didn't say that's the way everyone should think and instead of discussing her ideas, far too many people decided to pummel her.

Delightfully un-reptilian sentiments, Wenalway. Having been weaned away from the lizard's nest by Steve in a previous life, I can say with some authority that lack of vision is not his problem. And I second his amazement at the echo chamber's (continuing) barrage on Jessica's blog post. As one who was in the room at the meeting she blogged, I am satisfied that Jess upheld basic journalistic principles (tell the truth, quote accurately, don't omit important details) before applying her analysis. That doesn't immunize her from criticism, but it puts a pretty heavy weight on her side of the scale, IMHO. To be sure, there is more at play here than old school vs. young turks. It's more like flexibility and comfort with ambiguity vs. unsustainable business model. Railing against Jessica's account, Tampa's plan or Janet Coats' explanation doesn't change those dynamics, but exposes the intellectual poverty of the critic. - Willfully Trying, Despite Middle Age

I have suggested elsewhere that blogs frequented by Wenalway automatically substitute Mr Gumby for his/her name. I now ad that they should automatically substitute "Hello" and "My brain hurts" for every word that curmudgeon types until he/she either SsTFU or gets a clue. There IS more at play here than a bunch of dinosaurs or Gumby's clinging to the past, but all I hear from this poster is: "I've got a piece of brain lodged in me 'ead." Thrill us Mr Gumby (er Wenalway), tell us how newspapers and other mass media should resolve the situation in which they find themselves. Tell us how they should survive in the digital world that is emerging without having to build walls and moats and trying (at all costs) to preserve the past that many not working in those fields won't even lament once it is gone. Tell us about business models and profit margins and who will pay my salary in the not too distant future. Better yet, tell us how we could and should preserve those essential things done by newspapers -- like journalism -- without having to take along the excess and unaffordable baggage that has built up around that necessary and (pardon my pride) noble calling. Tell us some of these things or STFU.

"there's more in play here than a bunch of dinosaurs or "curmudgeons" clinging to the past" Please, tell us what. I need details in order to understand your point of view. Or maybe we should just hug it out. Can that be done on the internet? Seriously, I feel your anger Wenalway. But I have no idea how you would fix the problems facing those of us working in journalism who aren't old enough to retire. Name calling won't help. Give us real world solutions. As for me, I am pretty unhappy about what I see happening to the newspaper industry. But I find a silver of hope that newsrooms execs finally seem to be making some hard decisions. Not all of them will be good and there is precious little margin for error at many newspapers. But if newspapers and newsrooms don't do something radical we will all be talking about them in the past tense.

As a typical bitter and twisted gen Xer I hate most middle aged senior and middle managers in the media space. I work hard to come up with good ideas; they steal the ones they understand and trash the ones they don't (most of them), then mess up the implementation of anything to do with online marketing and communnications.