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Is the Internet Dumbing Down Business Journalism?

Sales Machine doesn't have a lot of "check out this post" posts. Sales Machine has always been heavy on original content; more difficult to produce, but higher value to the reader.

Even so, last week, I posted "How to Sell Like Jay Leno." It was (uncharacteristically) a rewrite of a longer article I had written SellingPower. I don't generally recycle, but I was short on material that day, and the fact that Leno had just launched his new show made the subject topical.

The one blog I read regularly is Gerhard Gschwandtner's SellingPower blog. Imagine my surprise, when Gerhard used my Jay Leno post as a launch point for a thoughtful discussion of the dumbing down of the American public.

Yikes! I wasn't conscious of "dumbing down" the article for Sales Machine, but I can see how it might seem like that. (Gerhard published the original article in his post, so that you can compare the two.)

Even so, Gerhard's critique got me thinking. Ten years ago, most of my business journalism was hard-hitting stuff -- analyses of market strategy, investigations of corporate fraud, etc. Now, I'm writing "Top 5 Funny Crackberry Videos." (This afternoon's post, when it goes live...)

My first thought was: OMG, I've been dumbed down!!!

Then I took a step back. I enjoy writing Sales Machine. I like posting the more light-hearted stuff. And the comments that you guys add to this blog show a lot of intelligence and depth. So there's must be something of value here, or this blog wouldn't have people like you reading it.

In general, though, I think Gerhard may have a point...but only to a point. I'd say that the interactivity of forums like Sales Machine raises business journalism by including more voices and viewpoints. And I think that's especially true when a blog or forum attracts a high quality community.

What do you think? Read Gerhard's post and then come back and vote in this poll:

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