I was TV channel surfing last week while grabbing a bite for lunch and a familiar face was on the screen: John Hartigan, Chairman and CEO of News Limited, was the guest at the National Press Club.
There was a particular time while I was a fulltime working mum when he was entwined in the daily happenings at my workplace and my team's efforts. It was another lifetime, but now here he was in my lounge room.
I couldn't hellp but watch. He spoke about the future of journalism. I thought he made some interesting points but he upset many bloggers with comments like: ``Blogs and a large number of comment sites specialise in political extremism and personal vilification.''
While I don't necessarily agree with anything Hartigan said, as someone with a background in journalism, it concerns me that virtually anyone can become ``reporters'' using new media. I see a potential problem in people who either do not do the research or check sources claims to substantiate the facts of a story. Despite the widely held misconception that you can't believe what you read in newspapers, stories are reviewed many times before they are published. That's not to say mistakes are not made - I'm yet to meet any person who is perfect. Bloggers can get it wrong. too.
It's important to remember there is a big difference between news reportage and opinion. Each should always be clearly identified but there are cases in traditional media and new media where the lines get blurred. I'm not sure if all readers always understand this.
I don't expect that new media will totally replace traditional media for me. New media is an added extra, offering something different.
The full text of what Hartigan had to say can be found here. And in the interest of being fair and unbiased, some critical commentary on his speech can be seen at Crikey, this blog, Mumbrella and The Michael Duffy Files.