Andrew Keen on New Media: I came to bury journalists but in the end I could only praise them

Rather than marching for international brotherhood, I celebrated a belated May Day this year by burying journalists. Fortunately, the dead hacks were all imaginary. I came to London for the Unesco World Press Freedom Day debate “Is New Media Killing Journalism?” And I drew the short straw. Unesco handed me the spade. It was my job to argue that the internet is killing journalists.To cut a long debate short, I lost. It was my motion, rather than imaginary journalists, which died. Three-quarters of the writers and broadcasters who showed up at London’s Frontline Club on 2 May for the debate rejected news of their own imminent death and voted down the motion.I have to confess that these optimists may have a point. Of course, it isn’t hard to causally link the meteoric rise of new media and the dramatic fall of old media. In America, in particular, there is obviously some sort of connection between the proliferation of amateur bloggers and the mass lay-offs of professional journalists. That said, the assumption that new media is killing journalism is a vulgar over-simplification. Indeed, as one of my opponents in the UNESCO debate, the presenter of the Radio 4 show The World Tonight Robin Lustig, pictured, argued, online self-publishing tools such as blogs are actually empowering traditional journalists to distribute their information directly to the public.

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