Are journalists better writers than fans? Yes, for the most part. But who is the better influencer?
If you had asked me this years ago, when I was just a kid in college feeling "adult" for reading the Wall Street Journal, I would've told you that journalists are the epitome of credibility when it comes to the written word and media.
But now, I'm using my phone and a dictation app to say to you (literally say to you) that journalists are no longer the authority when it comes to addressing topics people really, actually care about.
Fans have sort of taken over when it comes to capturing the world's attention. Journalists have somewhat slid into a role of disseminating content we "creators" have been beating from our chests across many categories and platforms since even the glory days of Digg.
We're the Tumblrs, Redditors, and yes, Moviepilots, that journalists are citing whenever they have to fulfill their daily quota of relevant material.
And they don't seem to like it that way.
I recently attended an event where I was surrounded by mainstream journalists from plenty of outlets you've heard of, but probably haven't read in quite some time. There's something critical I noted during my time with them: they honestly, probably tragically, hated being there. I could pick out in the room who was a blogger (like myself) and who was not, simply by reading basic nonverbal cues and facial expressions.
I've been a freelance journalist for ABC News and CBS Sports, so I can say with reasonable confidence that the traditional media journalist enjoys bitter work. To the point where I simply had to move on from the profession in order to maintain my love for respectable news outlets.
These days, I'm one of many fan writers who take to newer, more robust platforms in order to find my audience and voice. I don't need a large media company and endless connections to let the world know what I think about a Star Wars trailer, the latest casting decisions, and Pixar movies. I just need a computer (or smartphone in this case) and a hunger for sharing. And spellcheck.
The writers of Marvel's latest TV series, Daredevil, say as much when it's discussed how bloggers find more satisfaction and financial compensation in a day than the typical, just as hardworking journalist does.
I'm not looking to discount the good work of talented journalists here, but I'm also done with coddling the subject and making excuses. We're moving away from a model that supports elitist editing practices and eye-rolling barriers of entry. The era of fans as content creators is already in full swing, and it's time we finally recognize it.
Fans, step it up and prove me right. Journalists, find a way to embrace this disruption and prove me wrong. Either way, we could all use a more honest outlook on who the influencers are and will be.
Sent from my iPhone.