Perhaps it’s unfair to prey on the defenceless student media, but there’s an issue brewing behind the scenes that’s just so interesting on a larger scale.
The Link and The Concordian, the two student-run newspapers at Concordia University, are mortal enemies and they are fiercely competitive (after a few years of one paper being clearly superior to the other). They compete over design, contributors, editors, money and anything else they can think of.
I bring it up because it makes me wonder what rules should exist in general for journalists when it comes to their competition. Some media flat-out refuse to refer to direct competitors by name, unless it’s to report bad news about them. Many have rules restricting staff (and in some cases even freelancers) from contributing to competing media. And, of course, there’s the whole problem of when media outlets report on themselves.
Blogs, for the most part, take a completely different position. They welcome competition, link to their posts, hang out together and exchange tips. The idea there is that becoming part of a community helps everyone in it.
Who’s right? Is the cooperation among blogs simply because they’re such small enterprises and they’re trying to get noticed? When big blogs become large, mainstream, corporate-owned companies instead of some guys in a basement, will they too try to actively shut out their competition?
At what point do we have to stop being journalists and start being businesspeople?
(Note: This post was edited at the request of The Link, who wish to keep their dirty laundry in their own hamper. The main point still stands.)