In this Nation of the Blind: On Anime Journalism in the age of blogging

Now I’ll admit that I don’t really understand the nature of Internet journalism as omo has pointed out quite fairly. And the nature of journalism itself is changing. I mean take a look at CNN.com and you’ll see political blogs and “citizen” journalism by way of ireporter.

I’ll admit that I’m torn.

You see on the one side, I’m a journalism elitist. I do believe that there is a proper way to report. I do believe that there should be standards and ethics and an attempt to remove the personality of the reporter from the article. In fact, I’d take it so far as to say that I hold professionals to a higher standard than I hold amateurs. I believe the majority of us bloggers (myself included) do not have the resources or the knowledge to do a good in-depth article. (Although I’ll admit Scott does some really bang-up columns, like this one on Tokyopop.)

This is why I get angry at professionals who don’t live up to my standards. And I don’t get angry at other people.

But I also realize that I’m a dinosaur. Because like it or not, print is dead. Okay, maybe it’s not dead but it is morphing into a multi-platform experience using the Web, Broadcast and Newspapers in an attempt to reach new readers or even old readers. It’s becoming less top down and more of a community of people who are willing to invest themselves in the experience.

This is why I’m torn. Because like I’ve said before, I’m a pretty radical Civil Libertarian. I do believe more speech is better speech and that avenues of communication shouldn’t be limited just because a few stodgy old men want to cling onto their precious rituals.

This leads to omo’s central question. What should the nature of Internet journalism be? And perhaps more importantly (for the sake of this blog), what should the nature of anime journalism be?

And my answer is that there has to be a place to meet in the middle. Now, I’ll freely admit I like Gia’s site. It’s quick. It’s easy to read. And it’s generally and genuinely informative (although I’d really like some direct quotes. Please? Anyone?) And it’s quite possible it could turn into a site that I’d want to frequent to get my news.

But there’s something I need as a reader. And it’s something that’s been lacking from almost every Internet news source on anime that I find.

And that’s perspective. Anime news reporting has mastered the art of the brief. And that’s great, but it’s time to move past that. It’s time to move into the realm of multiple source stories. It’s time to move out of the realm of the Q&A and move into the realm of news articles with an angle (at least for the stories that deserve it.) It’s time for someone, anyone, to discard the mantle of information disseminator and take up the mantle of a reporter.

Because the Otakusphere is chock full of commentators (myself included), it has a slew of reviewers (more than I could read in one lifetime), but what we don’t have is someone who’s willing to talk to multiple people, navigate the ever-shifting landscape of facts and put it into a cohesive and digestible form for me. Although, like I said, I might not understand the nature of this new world of Internet reporting. I am a dinosaur after all.

But it seems to me, that in this nation of the blind… the one-eyed man (or woman) would be king.

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8 Comments

  1. Anime news reporting has mastered the art of the brief. And that’s great, but it’s time to move past that.

    Never! I don’t suppose this anime blogging sphere will ever get past our tl;dr mantra.

    It’s kind of interesting how you juxtapose the real life, standardized thing, backed up by its reputation against the stigma of the “unprofessionalism” of blogging. Well, it is unprofessional insofar as it is inherently striving to be so, but I don’t think any anime blogger tries to be a “real” journalist. Yeah, some people can write a damn good column, but perhaps they are two different things, because in the aniblogsphere we aren’t necessarily subject to the discourse of journalism, but or own conflaberated (I don’t think that’s a word…) discourse on the news sect of the sphere. However this POV is bust if we call journalism one thing and one thing only, non-discursive and objective (but I’d disagree that any kind of career or social/professional position is truly free from any discourses).

    This is like how Kaiserpingvin has “compared” “editorials” to academia. Previously, I probably had a similar stance to yours – a piddly 2000 word article that referenced a piddly 2-4 sources was not that “academic” or tl;dr at all. But the point was that trying to apply the standards of academia doesn’t work because this isn’t academia – it’s just anime blogging.

  2. I did link to Ex…I think that’s closer to what you’re asking for?

    One thing I did not mention is the resources/$ aspect. It takes serious work to produce a quality feature about any one topic. Just as example, I think most of us can probably write a very detailed thing about fansubs, targeting a general, online audience. Some of us can do a very good job writing it…maybe as good as a Wikipedia feature article, to use some well-known standard.

    But who would do that willingly? It’s quite a bit of work. I think it works for Wikipedia because we’re talking about a pool of contributors, and invariably some labor is split. People who are good at writing but don’t know what they’re talking about can edit, and people who can’t write but knows the stuff can contribute however they can.

    For blogging, this is just quite difficult without pay. Not only is motivation suspect, the amount of time one sinks into this is a serious chunk. Let’s not even talk about people who do this for a living and has to crunch out articles like this even on a weekly basis.

  3. @lelangir – To be fair, I’m not particularly proud of my elitism. But that said, I think talking about academic writing and news writing might be a bit different. I mean a news article isn’t really any longer than the post you just read. I mean 500 words is a good length for a decent article. If you’re doing a longer piece I don’t really think you want to go above 1000 words. And really, academic writing really wasn’t meant to be read in a column, even if it is brilliant. The sentences are too long and complex (yes, I’m advocating writing to a seventh grade level.) And really it could be accomodated… but that’s just my opinion.

    And I certainly agree that there really isn’t any group of people or profession that are without discourse. Although I have to say my problems with the media have a lot more to do with the Podunk Daily printing AP stories on their front page than it has to do with thinking that the media is too liberal or conservative or too coporate or anything like that. And really I think there can (and arguably has been) good reporting occasionally in this sphere.

    @omo – http://dailybriefing.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/07/01/starbucks-has-a-bitter-plan/

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/TV/06/10/apontv.season.without.hits.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

    Those are a couple of examples of good pieces that do mix in a little bit of commentary with some facts and provide me with information I didn’t have.

    Yeah, the resources issue is probably the biggest one. I mean it takes time and perserverence to build relationships with the right people, so that they’ll trust you and willingly give up information. But I get the feeling that there’s at least a little bit of letting them off easy and not explaining stuff that really they should have.

  4. Hmm, well you’re talking about reporting, to be specific. To that degree I think a lot of the blogs do this justice. They may not inject new information but I think with our current diet we will get a pretty full picture of what’s going on.

    Take for example what’s happening to GDH…

  5. There is no truth, only interpretation. That is why I don’t mind when the personality of the author is less than transparent.

    I really hate above all the stuff that comes out of the AP. Useless.

  6. […] In this nation of the blind: Anime journalism in the age of blogging […]

  7. […] In this nation of the blind: Anime journalism in the age of blogging […]


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