The blind eye of Dan Amrich?

Joystiq’s Justin McElroy wrote a very fair rebuttal to my last post about the two-week black hole in online news reporting about the GH5 Avatar thing. Not to kiss up, but I actually think Joystiq’s attitude and ethic is as good as it gets online (they cite sources and check facts and everything!) and as a reader who has read a lot of their articles, I trust them as an online news source above most others. But I called them out as a negative example in the story because a) it was relevant to the topic and b) there are two high-profile/influential news blogs in my estimation, and Joystiq is one of them. Just because I like ’em doesn’t mean I’m not going to occasionally criticize ’em. (The fact that Justin wrote back says a lot too.)

Also, a side note: on my personal blog, I’m not wearing my fair and balanced press hat, and nobody’s editing my from-the-hip rants. Justin was right to disagree with my spiteful stretch at the end there. But this being my personal domain does not mean I’m intentionally trying to be a flame-baiting irrational jerk either. I’m personally responsible for what I say here and I accept all criticism; I haven’t spiked any disagreeing comments. It would be tough to talk about things like the importance of respect for multiple viewpoints without actually respecting multiple viewpoints.

But Justin’s note made me think about why I wanted to post the GH5 thing in the first place, and that led me to admit that I’m simply biased and sensitive when it comes to the online/print relationship. I think, in broad terms, the former often devalues the latter unfairly. Many of my mini-rants about the media suggest or illustrate this, so this might not be news to you. Sometimes it’s a small thing, like an offhanded hopeful comment about how print is doomed; other times it’s bigger, like improper/incorrect citing, a lack of original research/reporting, or outright willful ignorance. I know the value of both online and print; I only get my knickers in a twist when someone who doesn’t tries to influence the masses one way or the other. That’s when I am more likely to point out flaws in the new system that do not exist in the old. The difference between evolution and extinction is not being explained, so I often come forward to try, and I usually do it with some venom.

So yeah, having worked in both online and print (I am so frequently a defender of print that I think a lot of people forget that I got my start in online, and most recently helped launch GamesRadar in the US), I get bitter when online sites don’t get the basics right. Maybe I should celebrate more positive examples going forward.

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