Kvetch of the Week: A little bit of remodeling

Trying something new here at IDK Global Headquarters with our weekly nod to the rantingest, ravingist screeds from the Journosphere.

First, it’s moving to a new day. I’ve found myself short on time at the end of the week to assess the Kvetch of the Week candidates, and setting aside that task for the weekend makes sense.

But mostly, this move also clears the way for what I aim to do most here on this blog: Offer useful and relevant information to displaced journalists coming to grips with the dizzying digital universe and a profession undergoing drastic transformation. KOW is fun and breezy and I want it to stay that way, but I do think the weekend is a more suitable time to unveil it.

What won’t change is the late Friday p.m. post time for the Weekend Video Jam, which will remain this blog’s segue to some good weekend musical chilling.

Now on with this week’s Kvetch of the Week, which is a real doozy.

I haven’t been delving much into the latest heated debate on the Journosphere, which has revolved around which new business models for the news (not an entirely new subject) will be the best way to move forward. Namely, should reeling newspaper companies be asking their readers to pay for online content? Especially since few seem committed to creating more valuable content that readers would want to pay for. Are newspapers worth saving at all? Even as they still pay the freight for their Web sites?

As this meme has raged, I’ve been busy doing a little journalism. Like many other displaced journalists I’m scrambling to find ways of getting paid for the freelance and contract content I do provide. So I’m just now catching up to what’s been ticking off the new media sages. And some of them are in full-flame mode.

In particular, longtime journalist and blogger Dana Blankenhorn takes on New York Times editor Bill Keller and Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten, who had the misfortune of hand-wringing about free world of online content at roughly the same time.

Via Paul Gillin, proprietor of the Newspaper Death Watch blog, comes Blankenhorn’s Kvetch of the Week-winning blitzkrieg:

“Journalism is not the process of sitting on your ass and getting paid for it. Journalism is the process of organizing and advocating a place, industry or lifestyle.”

Oh, he’s only getting warmed up, as have many Journosphere denizens exasperated that newspaper honchos and their defenders remain dug into a posture of propping up their existing business model any way they can. It’s industry suicide, according to Blankenhorn, but he couldn’t resist a few parting (and somewhat personal) shots:

“What Rutten and Keller and all their ilk don’t realize is that they were, and are, nothing but a bunch of bloggers. The only difference between a blogger and a paid writer is the business model feeding the hack.”


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