Good afternoon, Netizens…
David Horsey’s cartoon hit it on the head again, for some.
When I began this Blog over a year ago, I admit freely I had some preconceptions of what I was committed to, because for over a decade, I had written in Usenet News on the Internet every day, sometimes four or five times a day. For those who are unaware of it, Usenet news is a similar forum to that of the Blog; the only major difference is Usenet originated with long and sometimes even scholarly treatises written by subscribers. Over time, that degenerated into an exchange of opinions, if you’ll pardon my making light of what later became known as “flame wars” and then amateur (and in some cases professional) pornography took over the alt news hierarchies, and the descent into societal pigsties began.
Today’s Usenet news bears little resemblance to its historical self. I can vividly recall the first time I sat down (on a mainframe terminal, no less) and read “the news”, as it was referred to in that day. Depending upon the amount of time I had available, I could easily spend four or five hours luxuriating in treatises on the latest software developments, often written by the authors of applications and protocols I used in simply navigating the Internet in those days. Of course, there were stories written about places I had either seen or fondly dreamed of seeing, many written by people who were there, in the first-person, or whose experiences were vastly better-informed than my own.
For over a decade I ran my own news server, which was in retrospect either some considerable accomplishment, or simply a waste of electrons; your results may differ. At its peak if offered four established journalists, half a dozen (or more) network engineers, and as many as twenty various others: we wrote about and from the gamut of the human experience. Science, software engineering, the development of the Web as we know it today, the development of the Linux kernel into a working operating system— and then there was politics. If you didn’t like the news you heard on the TV or in the newspaper, as the comment went, you could probably find something more to your taste in Usenet.
I never held to the dream, as shown in David Horsey’s cartoon, of making gunny sacks full of money writing for Community Comment. Not hardly in an age when real journalists, those who have made their living writing each day, are standing out on the street peering in the windows of America’s newsrooms on unemployment. Not when bastions of literacy such as The Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and so many others have already closed their doors for good, leaving some of the best writers in America looking for work.
Printer’s ink still runs in my veins from having worked in the industry years ago, but I recognize writing a Blog is still not journalism. However, compulsive writing can be journalism; it depends upon the years of training and discipline involved. Unfortunately not even good well-trained and professional journalists are making money these days.
Writing an opinion is hardly the same as writing news journalism, and thus, writing a Blog is not the same as being a journalist. Agree or disagree?