Journos & Bloggers in Slugfest

My little post a few days ago regarding an article in The Australia has seem to have stired a few emotions.

I got sent an email from a friend "inside the journo circle" which featured a post from a blog roundup of local tech stories called Epitome, which discussed the post and the implications for the local media.

Blogosphere gives it to Wilson
By Philip Sim and Ian Yates
10/11/2005 12:04:00 PM

It used to be the case that journalists had all the power. If a person or company felt the journalist had got it wrong, they had little recourse except to send a letter to the editor. Not any more.

With the rise of the internet and the blogosphere, any reader who thinks a journalist has stuffed up, got it wrong, has no idea, or just did a bad job can say so. And people will listen.

Yesterday, Eric Wilson penned the lead feature in The Australian’s Enterprise Technology special report. Headlined J2EE, .NET in slugfest, Wilson compared the take-up and relative merits of the opposing Sun and Microsoft technologies, and along the way, made mention of AJAX and other programming technologies.

In doing so, he appears to have gotten himself into a bit of trouble. Frank Arrigo, Microsoft Australia developer platform evangelism group manager (where do I get me one of these job titles!) wrote on his popular blog: “The article goes on with some comments by folks from both sides of the fence, as well as more comment from Gartner's unpublished report, but then it ended kinda abruptly. As I mentioned before I don't get the conclusion. Where's the promised slugfest? What was Eric trying to say? Anyone know??”

If The Aus is perturbed by those statements, it probably won't want to read the comments describing the piece as “horrible”, “disappointing”, and “unfocused”.

And Arrigo wasn’t the only blogger to lay into the piece. The Spoke has dedicated a blog post to the story under the headline: “A Poor Piece of Writing from The Australian IT”.

One comment on that blog read: “You should write them, Bernard, and point out the inaccuracies. Media need the feedback. If not, they'll just keep on committing the same mistakes.”

The scary part of this is that Eric Wilson is actually a developer and has always been one of Australia’s most respected technical journalists. If he can write a piece on a subject he knows pretty well and get this kind of vitriolic feedback, it should be seen as a wake-up call for every journalist who strays into the technical realm. Let’s face it, there are many, many readers who know a lot more than 99 per cent of IT journalists and they’re going to become more and more vocal about technically inaccurate stories.

Almost every tech journalist will have at one time or another, bluffed their way through a technology-laden story. Those days are all but over. 

But wait, there's more.

Thanks to the magic of blog searching tools and being able to subscribe to "ego search feeds", I stumbled across a post entitled MS blogger turns on Eric Wilson by Paul Montgomery an "Australian ex-journalist heading up an Internet startup called Tinfinger".

Paul wrote that I "provided today a non-Scoble demonstration of Microsoft employees' full licence to defend their company against negative reportage".

I'll take that.

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Comments (5)
  1. Peter Q says:

    Herein lies one of the biggest problems with Blogging.

    We all know, that IT management has a strange desire to believe anything so long as it is in print, and while Journalists are not necesarily technically knowledgable, they are at least trained in the journalistic arts of leading the reader to draw their own conclusions, avoiding defamation and so on. With this now "Opened-up" to the great unwashed masses, we will see some latent journos come to the fore, but equally we will see some "hacks" that should have an apple stuffd into their mouths (in preparation for being roasted by a cynical audience)

    The same, unfortunately applies to PodCasts (Yes, I know, it’s Politically Incorrect to cal them that, in a Microsoft environment… tough).

    Already I have seen (or heard) Casters that feed that profanity, or trying to use a voice like a 70’s voice over announcer wil give them a more professional image. So far, the only Podcast that I consistently listen to, is Adam Curry ( – because he has done it for a living, and does it right.

    It’s kind of like when Desktop publishing gave the man in the street the ability to "draw" an advert or manual, etc etc. Poor use of Fonts, bad indexing etc etc. stuck in the craw of many a professional publisher who through experience understood the nuances of catching peoples attention and keeping it, on a printed page.

    Don’t start me on web-page development…

    With the Plethora of tools available in technical areas like these, now, there is certainly enough skilling on "How to", but sadly people are left to their own, often naive understanding of "Why to"….


  2. Kevin says:

    Herein lies the AMAZING wonderous FREEDOM of blogging…

    Taken right from the heart of We the Media by Dan Gilmore and gang:

    Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media’s monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news.

    Australia and the media are fighting fighting, quit, shake hands and realise YOUR READERS KNOW MORE THAN YOU DO.

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