Citizen Journalists and NCAA Pools

OK. I’ll admit it. I’m under some pressure this morning. I lingered too long last night with my ration of Jamesons, reading The New York Times, dead-tree edition. Then American Idol came on. And I was sound asleep before the first “yo, dog” waffled over the airwaves.

So now I have to scramble to complete my NCAA pool. And I can’t just do it any more via paper. I have to get a Yahoo account. Establish a password with significant weight. Then record and submit my selections — and all before noon. Gee. A deadline. Just like my first job at the Ashtabula Star-Beacon. The presses thundered there every day at 11 a.m. Ready or not.

What this means is that I’ll have to rely on the ink-stained wretches of the old media world today to sort out the A.I.G. mess, the upcoming GM bankruptcy and so on. This citizen journalist clearly has bigger fish to fry.

That’s why I have to chuckle when I read some of the stories these days that opine that the wisdom of the crowd will replace the expertise of reporters and editors. We’ll see. There is a lot of commentary — and retweeting — these days, but not much reporting outside the forest of dead-tree journalists as best I can tell. And there is a difference.

And I have to admit that I’m kind of mad about my apparent lowly status on the new media totem pole. I sure didn’t get much credit when I broke the story in my echo chamber of Twitter and Facebook last night about Steeler Nation leader Dan Rooney being named by President O to be Ambassador to Ireland.

OK. I didn’t really break the news. It was on CNN, in the Chicago Tribune and so on long before I saw the story. And for all I know it’s a hoax. But c’mon. If we are going to let little things like actual reporting and vetting of information get in the way, most of us will never tweet again or file a blog post. I digress.

Anyway, I plan to write more about this in coming days. As I see it, as journalism — and dead-tree editions of newspapers — continue to implode, there is an increased opportunity for organizations to engage and inform audiences, broadly speaking. And there is a corresponding opportunity for communications professionals to really have some effect on public understanding and the ongoing dialogue that is essential to any organization’s long-term success.

In the meantime, let’s see. Can Ohio State really beat Siena?

That’s a damn bracket buster.

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