Journos & Bloggers in Slugfest

My little post a few days ago regarding an article in The Australia has seem to have stired a few emotions.

I got sent an email from a friend "inside the journo circle" which featured a post from a blog roundup of local tech stories called Epitome, which discussed the post and the implications for the local media.

Blogosphere gives it to Wilson
By Philip Sim and Ian Yates
10/11/2005 12:04:00 PM

It used to be the case that journalists had all the power. If a person or company felt the journalist had got it wrong, they had little recourse except to send a letter to the editor. Not any more.

With the rise of the internet and the blogosphere, any reader who thinks a journalist has stuffed up, got it wrong, has no idea, or just did a bad job can say so. And people will listen.

Yesterday, Eric Wilson penned the lead feature in The Australian’s Enterprise Technology special report. Headlined J2EE, .NET in slugfest, Wilson compared the take-up and relative merits of the opposing Sun and Microsoft technologies, and along the way, made mention of AJAX and other programming technologies.

In doing so, he appears to have gotten himself into a bit of trouble. Frank Arrigo, Microsoft Australia developer platform evangelism group manager (where do I get me one of these job titles!) wrote on his popular blog: “The article goes on with some comments by folks from both sides of the fence, as well as more comment from Gartner's unpublished report, but then it ended kinda abruptly. As I mentioned before I don't get the conclusion. Where's the promised slugfest? What was Eric trying to say? Anyone know??”

If The Aus is perturbed by those statements, it probably won't want to read the comments describing the piece as “horrible”, “disappointing”, and “unfocused”.

And Arrigo wasn’t the only blogger to lay into the piece. The Spoke has dedicated a blog post to the story under the headline: “A Poor Piece of Writing from The Australian IT”.

One comment on that blog read: “You should write them, Bernard, and point out the inaccuracies. Media need the feedback. If not, they'll just keep on committing the same mistakes.”

The scary part of this is that Eric Wilson is actually a developer and has always been one of Australia’s most respected technical journalists. If he can write a piece on a subject he knows pretty well and get this kind of vitriolic feedback, it should be seen as a wake-up call for every journalist who strays into the technical realm. Let’s face it, there are many, many readers who know a lot more than 99 per cent of IT journalists and they’re going to become more and more vocal about technically inaccurate stories.

Almost every tech journalist will have at one time or another, bluffed their way through a technology-laden story. Those days are all but over.  

But wait, there's more.

Thanks to the magic of blog searching tools and being able to subscribe to "ego search feeds", I stumbled across a post entitled MS blogger turns on Eric Wilson by Paul Montgomery an "Australian ex-journalist heading up an Internet startup called Tinfinger".

Paul wrote that I "provided today a non-Scoble demonstration of Microsoft employees' full licence to defend their company against negative reportage".

I'll take that.

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