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On or offline? It’s the wrong discussion…

By 09/07/2010No Comments

My colleagues from the London office invited me to speak at their healthcare event “How to communicate with the 21st Century Patient”.  Highlighting the importance of digital media seemed a logical thing :-).  More and more patients turn to the internet as their first source of information, confronting their medical practitioners and doctors with the information they have found online. Dealing with this “dr Google phenomenon” is something that is changing the medical playfield, and frankly a bit of a challenge.

A freelance healthcare writer, co-presenting at the event, is an excellent    journalist (with a focus on print media). However, I had to disagree with her when she stated that off-line information is per definition better than on-line information, and that online providers of content are mostly inferior to off-line providers.

And that is when the sleeping journalist in me roared. When I was a young press monkey, older journalists were better, and journalists with a blue accreditation cards were better than the ones with a green card. Now the quality debate shifted to it’s online, or offline.  Honestly, that is enough nonsense to propel a pound of half-cooked beef in an orbit around Betelgeuse.

It is NOT about off line or online. It is about quality of content. If the content is good, crosschecked, weighed, referenced, footnoted, transparent, honest and correct…. I could not care less if it is written by a journalist with a diamond incrusted press card, or by a nerdy blogger in a Hindustani basement.

Encyclopedia Britannica, the self-proclaimed God of wisdom, proves to be less correct than the crowd sourced, wiki-drafted, and community controlled Wikipedia.

Trust me, you will also find fine and balanced content online. Written by journalists; bloggers; moms and dreamy eyed students. Not all of those have nihil obstat press card blessing… who cares?

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