… and which story one decides to read and believe depends on that reader’s preference, choice, taste, understanding of the topic and knowledge.

It was the first social media discussion that got all hot and sweaty (literally) over at Open Room tonight. Only Ogilvy dares to do something that most brands and agencies are afraid of, mixing the traditional media (TM) journalists with the social media (SM) bloggers together in the same room to discuss about Journalism. And may I quote, Journalism as explained in my trusty dictionary in my macbook states that – “the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television.” Hmm… nope, it didn’t include bloggers nor online digital storytellers. Let’s see what Wikipedia (the community dictionary) explains Journalism…

Journalism is the production of news reports and editorials through media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet. Journalists—be they writers, editors, photographers, broadcast presenters or producers—serve as the main purveyors of information and opinion in contemporary society.

There. The community speaks.

What am I trying to proof here? The way content is consumed depends on the way a person prefers or are aware of. Both the TM and SM know very well about this and they do well serving their own group of audiences. Let’s take the big boy in TM for instance, they’ve got BT for the business minded individuals, New Paper and Wan Bao for the tabloids and sensational news, and they’ve got magazines catered for different types of population. As for ST, guess I’m classifying it under the general category. Just like most of the blogs here in Singapore. No niche, just write whatever they were told to and censor whatever that’s not to be told.

In SM, there are blogs, websites, forums and lots of people we can follow on twitter, facebook, plurk or whichever social networking site you can name. But the smart users who are using these tools read, follow or participate in their selection due to their choice and needs. I won’t follow someone whose tweet nothing but conversation between his/her followers nor will I want to read a blog on a regular basis if that writer simply posts random things that doesn’t matter to me. Smart users know how to filter out the noise and focus on what matters to them. Same goes for TM. No one (with no reason other than its job responsibilities) will read every single publication and every single page in the TM publications.

Yes, I agree with Daryl that habits die hard (for the older generation), but for the young ones, we pick up new things everyday and our habit changes as we grow together with this new channel of information that’s available for free. And these young ones are eventually going to continue to grow and progress and changing their daily habits. Whether or not reading the newspaper daily will eventually become one of their favorite pastime in years to come, no one knows. Perhaps they’ll still read about the news, but from other channels and ways. So the questions now is how are the TM and SM storytellers evolving and embracing this change to match what may come in the future? Its about delivering the right content when the user wants it. Not when you think they want it. Consumer always have their final choice. No one can force them.

Than there’s the thing about credibility and professionalism. TM journalists state that they are the credible sources, but what about the many misquotes, over sensationalizing of topics, featuring article of certain products as there’s sponsorship involved, reporting of things that they see only one side of the picture, and publishing news that are of no need for public concern e.g. death of someone due to suicide. Personally I have got bad experiences with these things. How can I trust 101% that the TM is giving us accurate and credible news? What about the parts that were not published?

If citizenship journalism is encouraged by the TM, than what makes the differences from a blogger reporting about an incident or happening on their own blog or twitter as they’d encountered it and a citizen that posts up to Stomp? Citizens are encouraged to Stomp about happenings so that the big boys can get the traffic from tabloid or gossip hunters to visit their website, increase their pageviews and get advertising dollars from all the flashing irritating banner ads. If they can do that, than why can’t the bloggers?

On a final note, I’ve to say this again – I read what I want to read, if I’m not interested in the war that’s happening out there nor the new jet that some army purchased, I can’t be bothered. When I really need to find them, I search! If google or yahoo (or bing) doesn’t list your content within the first 3 to 4 pages, I’m sorry you didn’t reach me. Eventually I’ll get my source from somewhere else. Whether or not the source is 100% reliable, its all up to the smart reader to decide.

Updates – posts I want to remember