Last week I attended the rather excellent Mesh conference here in Toronto, a two-day Web 2.0/social media geekfest. One of the recurring themes, in addition to "new media" threatening "old media" was the tension between professionals vs. amateurs. It's a common debate, most recently flamed by Andrew Keen's Cult of the Amateur.
Josh at Bokardo has posted some thoughts on this debate, highlighting an excellent quote from Yochai Benkler that, to me, is a great place to start when thinking about this.
what is quality? and how much are we getting from the mass media culture that pervaded the 20th century? High production doesn’t mean quality. The best music didn’t necessarily make it commercial. Mass media doesn’t necessarily give us quality; it does give us passivity, and I think that’s unattractive.