Ben Laurie blathering

Old School Journalism

I was planning to write about the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) calling for YouTube to be closed down in order to combat bullying, but there seems little point, since in the same article Emma-Jane Cross of BeatBullying hit the nail on the head

“Calls for social networking sites like YouTube to be closed because of cyberbullying are as intelligent as calls for schools to be closed because of bullying.”

You’ll notice that in the above, I do not link to PAT, nor do I link to YouTube, Emma-Jane Cross or BeatBullying. Normally I would, but as I was about to embark on a session of Googling, I thought “Why do I have to do this? If the BBC had got with the programme there would be links in their article that I could follow.”

Which leads me on to the thought that old media should stop whining about how they are the real journalists and we losers with blogs are just some pale imitation and start, instead, providing a service that is as good as the average blog, instead of a mere transposition of their print columns onto web pages.

The whole point about the web is it allows you to link to your sources, to tangents of interest and to full versions of documents mentioned. But the old media does none of this: they think the web is like paper. If they don’t want to go the way of the dinosaurs they need to drag themselves into the 20th century and start linking.


  1. Er, Ben… right-hand-side of the page. Under ‘Related Links’. YouTube, BeatBullying, PAT…

    Comment by James — 1 Aug 2007 @ 14:39

  2. OK, so I’ll have to grant that the BBC has made it half-way into the 20th century by providing some links. But they aren’t in the main text, where they should be, and nor are they very complete – where is the link to the source for the claim that PAT wants to close down YouTube, for example?

    I still maintain that they are treating the Web like paper. Why else would you put the references somewhere hard to find?

    Comment by Ben — 1 Aug 2007 @ 15:22

  3. Well that’s absolute nonsense. Almost everyone who goes to school faces bullying at some point, whereas hardly anyone who uses youtube does. Youtube gives you, broadly, what you ask for; school gives you the same brutality as it gives everyone else. E, when I were a lad, yer political radicals would commonly call for schools to be shut down, or, at least, radically reformed.

    These days, they seem to think a problem goes away if you stop people talking about it. It’s enough to make you go quite Ray Bradbury (except HE now claims Fahrenheit 451 isn’t about censorship… which is like Anais Nin crawling out of her sepulchre and claiming that Delta of Venus is about differential calculus.

    Comment by ti' — 1 Aug 2007 @ 20:37

  4. Indeed, linking is good. You not only need links to your sources, you also need links that make it easy for interested readers and potential contibuters to follow a discusssion.

    This is something the blogosphere isn\’t very good at. I know about those …back thingies, but they just aren\’t doing the job.

    Comment by Eric Norman — 1 Aug 2007 @ 23:52

  5. Eric Norman, yes, trackback has been killed by spammers, RIP. But there is always Technorati and RSS. I don’t miss people linking to me as I have feed of the Technorati search for my blog URL going to my RSS reader. It is not perfect but it does the trick of keeping up with the conversations. Also, WordPress provides a list of incoming links in the backend..

    Comment by Adriana — 2 Aug 2007 @ 13:20

  6. Nails, heads and old media

    Ben Laurie hits several nails in the head of the old media. Quoting from a BBC article in his post about bullying on YouTube, he notes. You’ll notice that in the above, I do not link to PAT, nor do

    Trackback by Media Influencer — 2 Aug 2007 @ 13:30

  7. […] Ben Laurie makes an excellent point about traditional media and their Web stories, which frequently either don’t have links or don’t make them obvious — something that is even true of my employer, the Globe and Mail. (got this one from Adriana Lukas) […]

    Pingback by Items that may grow up to be posts » — 2 Aug 2007 @ 22:10

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