A weblog is...
A link from Corante on blogging brought me to a post on the weblogging versus journalism debate. In this post Tom Coates at Plasticbag.org points out that journalism and professionalism still has an advantage to bloggs, despite the fact that journalists occasionally don't get all their facts right either.
And here I was, about the declare the journalism education dead and useless, give all the new students the URL to blogger, and send them out into the world with a lap-top in their eager little hands to report from the depths of their free, unsullied hearts...
As I have mentioned before, debates on the meaning of blogs are getting slightly over-serious. Weblogs are a lot more than just one thing. Bloggers are more than one type of people. Some weblogs actually have behind them a brain trained and with research resources far higher than what a newspaper can afford. I don't think you can find many people who know more about games, hypertexts, software development or interactive narratives than the people who write some of the blogs on my linklist. They have the opportunity to spend their lives studying and researching these topics. It would have to be an extremely good journalist to be able to write better in their specialised field than those people do.
However: they are just a few out of millions of bloggers. If I go randomly into the newly updated blogs on blogger.home, I find ZenChristian, a blog which leads a philosophical discussion on the combinations of zen and christianity that came out extremely low on my trust-barometer. Out Loud did much better with me though, I liked the cool picture in the heading, and the writing is unpretentious and personal, reporting from her everyday life - a typical blog. The Inner Workings of my brain by Suzanne is however a treat I don't mind passing... as there isn't evidence of any common interests in what happens in her brain and in mine. So, since the net is big enough for both of us, I'll leave her to her bytes of it.
What we tend to forget when we discuss blogging, is that all kind of people write blogs. Yes, that means that some bloggers do their blogging better than most journalists do their jobs. It also means that a lot of bloggers have absolutely no clue about how to edit and shape their writing into anything others than they would be interested in. But that doesn't really matter! Blogging is not something which belongs to the definitions or the institutions, or even the readers. Blogging belongs to the individual that takes responsibility for the act. And that person, whoever he or she is, writes a unique blog that cannot be replaced by any number of perofessional journalists. It just wouldn't be the same.
And that is what I really love about this.