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Blog // Thoughts
August 27, 2007

What Is Blogging II – Is Blogging Journalism?

One question that often comes up, when discussing blogging with non-bloggers (and non-blog-readers) is the question of whether blogging is in some way like journalism. In trying to answer that question I often fumble like a bad first-year philosophy student, struggling with Logic 101, Not all bloggers are journalists, but some journalists are bloggers… …I […]

One question that often comes up, when discussing blogging with non-bloggers (and non-blog-readers) is the question of whether blogging is in some way like journalism. In trying to answer that question I often fumble like a bad first-year philosophy student, struggling with Logic 101,

Not all bloggers are journalists, but some journalists are bloggers…

…I mean, some bloggers blog in a way worthy of being called journalism.

Gruelling, isn’t it?

But, the question keeps bubbling up, in part because of the steady stream of rants and tirades by writers quick to point out the perceived weaknesses of the blogosphere (more often than not based on small and anecdotal sample sets). KCRW’s To the Point July 6thpodcast interviewed Andrew Keen in response to his book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture. Keen’s performance was both revealing and poor, highlighting how his impoverished criticisms of blogging in favour of traditional commercial gate-keeping really looked when placed under even the slightest scrutiny. What became painfully clear, as Keen retreated into blustering pontification, was how little the (very marketable) jeremiad against all things “social networking” based itself upon careful analysis of how users filter the information they find in the Web2.0-o-sphere.

The latest installment in the anti-blogging-backlash has come from Michael Skube writing in the LaTimes, Blogs: All the noise that fits. It is very revealing to read both the letters to the editor and Jay Rosen’s follow up piece, The journalism that bloggers actually do (HT: Mediashift). Rosen does a great job, not only highlighting the lack of detail in Skube’s diatribe, but also citing a good list of examples of blogging as journalism.

Not all blogging is weighty, thoughtful or important, but it doesn’t take much examination to realise that some of it is. An inability to see that can only be put down to poor research or self-interested bending of reality (what we commonly call lying). The important issue is really not whether blogging might be journalism or not, whether blogs may contain excellent writing or not. Rather, it is whether readers can discern quality when they find it and whether bloggers, often working alone and outside conventional editorial networks can maintain standards of excellence.

[tags] Journalism, Citizen Journalism [/tags]

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