Symbiosis in action

Nice MediaGuardian column by Jeff Jarvis

Bloggers don’t think they’ll replace reporters, they want to work in symbiotic bliss, amateur alongside professional, complementing each other’s skills to expand the reach of the news. I call this networked journalism and I am seeing more examples of the two tribes coming together not to clash but to conspire.

For example, when a Reuters lensman faked up photos from Lebanon, blogger Charles Johnson at demonstrated just how Photoshopping had oomphed up the action. Johnson was the same blogger who showed how the documents underlying former CBS anchor Dan Rather’s investigation of George Bush’s military service had been faked. But big media’s reaction this time was different. CBS stonewalled for 11 days. Reuters responded by suspending, then firing the photographer. They also gave Johnson credit, which is to say that Reuters saw they were on the same side – the side of honesty.

Similarly, when AOL released millions of web searches, thinking the information was anonymous, it was bloggers, like’s Michael Arrington, who realised searches can reveal our identity. The New York Times reported a magnificent story tracking down searcher “no. 4417749” as an old lady in Georgia who’d sought “women’s underwear” and “dog who urinates on everything”. The Times, like the Washington Post, gave nods to bloggers for doing the legwork…