Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Journalism and blogging

And while we are talking about beating dead horses: the journalists are still obsessed with blogs. Today it's Steve Outing at Poynter Online who writes about What journalists can learn from bloggers.

It's really not a bad article. There are a few more things I could add, such as making your sources and your citations more explicit, and let people know where you got your story. But all in all, yes, calm, clear discussion of what journalists can learn from bloggers, and he has discovered that not all bloggers try to be journalists - which is something that comes slowly to some of the others.

And that is my favourite hobby horse. Journalism isn't the be-all of publishing. A person who spreads a piece of news or passes on a piece of information isn't immediately attempting to be a journalist. That person is communicating something of interest to other people.

Journalism today is defined be institutions, and has a certain function, most prominent, sadly, the function of making money for other people. The editorial constraint on reporting due to the financial needs of the institution is significant and severe. I think this is the main reason why blogging appears to be such a threath - it sems to do for free what the journalists get paid for.

Only - it doesn't, and people know that. Rather than stealing audience, bloggers share audience. Before my readers have come to the bottom of this post, several of them will have left, following the link to poynter online and the article I am writing about. They may return here to see what I say, but they may also lose themselves in the options of the page I am linking to.

Oh yes, bloggers do all the rest too, so you had better strive to be clear, interesting, honest, open and straight forwards. But I thought that was what journalism was all about?

And as a PS - no, elections are supposed to be secret, and everybody can vote what they like. I don't think newspapers should say who votes what in their staff. It is supposed to be a free country, right?

1 comment:

South Interior said...

Your thoughts are interesting but true. Blogs are a threat to journalists, I think in the beginning, with message boards, BBS and web sites everything was archaic and chaotic, un-polished. But the blog is the most sophisticated form of electronic publishing over the internet as of yet.

Some journalists have started to blog. I read a blog from an NBA player. Professionals in various industries are starting to blog to stay connected to their fans, to the streets. Blogs are very well articulated and constructed then very random, deconstructed and chaotic all at once. Some blogs have rather serious articles from individuals and others aren't talking about anything at all.

Such has always been the nature of the internet. Which is why I'll always publish on here, and not so much in print. Print always has been about money, not that you can't make money through the blog, it's just that it is a lot harder to do so. Journalists should get back to what they do best, they do get paid for their work we don't.