What is Web 2.0 and why do (some) journalists fear it?

I thought the guys from the [O’Reilly Insight Group](http://en.oreilly.com/webexsf2008/public/schedule/detail/3445) did a really good job of summing up what “Web 2.0” is:

* Listening – To your customers, readers, partners, etc.
* Participation – Joining into the conversations and relationships that those folks are having, and letting them participate in your conversations and relationships.
* Transparency – Opening yourself up, being honest about mistakes
* Ongoing inquiry – Continually asking your audience about what they’re looking for from you, ways to improve, etc.

Don’t those four points sound an awful lot like things that are core to journalism?

* Listening – To your sources, to your readers.
* Participation – Providing information to create better participants in a democracy. Participating in the society via an Op/Ed page.
* Transparency – Isn’t it every journalist’s goal to make as much of the public and private sectors transparent to the community they serve?
* Ongoing inquiry – Beat reporting, investigative journalism. We are an industry of ongoing inquiries.

So if “Web 2.0” and journalism are so similar, then why are so many journalists afraid or hostile toward “2.0” features on their Web site and “2.0” sites in general?

I don’t have an answer, and the Web doesn’t need any more speculation, so I’ll just put that question out there and hope some smarter folks have answers.

About Chris

Python developer, Agile practitioner trying desperately not to be a pointy haired boss.
This entry was posted in Business, Journalism, Management, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What is Web 2.0 and why do (some) journalists fear it?

  1. Brad King says:

    I’ve had the benefit of growing up with technology (got my first computer in 1984) and working in journalist (got my first job in 1994) — and I’ve always thought there was a direct relationship with each other.

    From the open source movement to the Hacker ethic, the idea behind technology has always been — as you point out — similar to the idea behind journalism. Why that hasn’t translated into the newsroom, I’ll never know.

  2. I’ll have a go at it.

    Listening – We’re more used to speaking, writing, publishing at people in a one-way process.

    Participation – We think of ourselves as monks who have cut off community involvement in order to remain objective.

    Transparency – We’re not in the communication business, we’re in the information business, and we hope to control and sell the information we’ve collected.

    Ongoing inquiry – We publish a story and then it’s on to the next one, without looking back to see what people are saying, adding to, or challenging about what we’ve just published.

    It’s changing, though. It starts with a curious mind, which all journalists should have.

  3. Chris says:

    @Brad – I think you make an excellent point… journalism and technology have long been intertwined in my life and the ethos from almost directly translates to the other.

  4. Chris says:

    “It starts with a curious mind, which all journalists should have.”

    Amen Brian!

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