Journalists have traditionally been slow to embrace online tools that will make their jobs easier. Some of them are finally using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to find sources or look for story ideas.
One area where you won’t see many journalists participating, however, is in the comments section at blogs and in public forums. Blogger Amy Gahran, a content strategist, has started an interesting discussion about why journalists either do or don’t post public comments.
“I have some theories as to why journalists seem more reluctant than other folks to engage in public conversation online. Most of these relate to the toxic culture I think has developed in journalism and news organizations.”
She’s asking journalists about whether they comment.
As a former journalist for 22 years, here are my guesses as to why few are participating:
- They’re just too busy. Newsrooms are being gutted and quartered. The survivors are now doing double- and tripe-duty.
- Many are now saddled with creating video as well as articles. Go over to AngryJournalist.com and you’ll see lots of them grousing about this.
- They’re afraid that if they identify themselves in blog comments or public forums, somebody will pitch them and the pitch will have nothing to do with what they cover.
- Many of the journalist reading blogs and forum posts are there to find sources and story ideas, sometimes on deadline. When they find a hot prospect, they email or call—pronto—instead of posting a comment.
Let’s see what the journalists have to say.