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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

When talking about objectivity in the age of digital journalism, Jay Rosen’s view from nowhere theory is one of the most frequently cited perspectives on the topic.

Yesterday, in a blog post that used the Old and New Testaments as a framework for discussing the age of mass media and the age that preceded it, Rosen argued that objectivity conservatives might be coming around to the age of the blogger.

A kind of new testament fundamentalism common in journalism from the 1970s to the 1990s held form through the early years of blogging in this century. It felt scorn for the more opinionated style and ridiculed its followers as “echo chambers.” It defined itself as “the traditional” and dismissed everyone else as marginal. This was arrogance born of monopoly.

But then new testament journalists started blogging themselves and more recently they have taken to social media with genuine enthusiasm. Today they are not as confident that they have all the answers. They know that their business model is broken. They can see the advantages in personal voice and persuasive power that accrues to the Glenn Greenwalds and other practitioners of the personal franchise model in news. They understand that the people formerly known as the audience want to participate more in the news and that the insiders are less trusted than ever.

The next step, Rosen says, is building news organizations that make an attempt to combine both types of journalism.

— Caroline O'Donovan
                                   
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  • Jack Rein

    I wish just once that one of these blogs or articles would point out Jay Rosen’s journalistic track record of failure. NewAssignment.net? The revolutionary open source reporting project that no longer appears to exist. The “citizen’s agenda” with The Guardian? A new way to cover elections that went nowhere, had no impact. His advisory role in DigitalFirst Media? Would love to know how much he was paid to help run us back into bankruptcy.