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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jarvis to MSM: You've Been a "Closed and Privileged Priesthood" for Too Long

Somebody calling themselves "journalist" posted a comment on Jeff Jarvis's BuzzMachine in defense of the Mainstream Media and trotted out all the usual arguments for standing athwart media history and yelling "Stop!"

Big mistake. Jarvis takes the arguments one-by-one in a masterful exegesis. Here is Jarvis on the argument that the MSM is all that stands between civilization and a return to the isolation and ignorance of the Feudal Age:

"Instead of arguing that the world must stay as it was, instead of being satisfied informing the world the old way, your way, why not imagine the new, better, and bigger ways there are to inform society today?

"Why not imagine the ways that you can use the internet to connect more people to more information than ever before? Why not? Because, I suspect, you fear it cuts you out of the role of the gatekeeper.

"But gatekeepers are fixtures of feudal societies. The internet tears down the castle walls. You can’t win with this feudal metaphor trick, not when you’ve been a member of the closed and privileged priesthood for too long."

That's just one part of a lengthy response by Jarvis that provides a superb description of how and why old media just cannot survive the digital age without becoming something very different.

Go here for the complete Jarvis. By the way, for those who don't know, Jarvis is a veteran of the MSM himself, one of the few who grasped the potential of the Internet long ago and embraced it with enthusiasm.