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The Net News Culture Clash

Check out this Public Editor post over at The New York Times. Apparently there was a difference of opinion about a Web report; an accuracy versus speed sort of argument that had newspaper and Web journalists arguing with one another.

Nice to know other organizations encounter some of the same issues as we do from time to time. We have a lot of spirited debates here about the right way to present something and represent different journalistic views.

This is probably one of the biggest, but often undiscussed, challenges in the development of Internet journalism ... the clash of cultures. Many established print and TV journalists tend to look down on Net platform, viewing it as more of a plebian or even inferior medium.

Who can blame them, given all the junk floating around in cyberspace? If you didn't appreciate that Web sites are different, the same way newspapers and magazines are different, you could be inclined to write off the whole medium as suspect.

That's changing a little bit now. Certain names and brands are standing out from the Internet noise. But the culture clash continues, mostly about what works and what doesn't. It's kind of hard to throw a TV "octobox" onto a Web page.

Hey, TV news in the 1950s probably went through the same challenges. And town criers probably looked down on the first newspapers too.

The Web shouldn't be about reprinting newspaper stories or streaming TV packages. It should be about the best of both worlds. We're getting there. Spirited debates like the one at the Times (and one's I've encountered first hand at CNBC and CNN) actually help move it forward.