Monday, November 12, 2007

Are Bloggers and Journalists One and the Same?

Blogs are multiplying faster than a pitcher can wind up and send a baseball to a catcher. With approximately 112 million blogs on the internet today (and nearly 1,100 updates per minute!), blogs continue to be a topic of discussion in many circles, particularly among those in the communications business.

Recently, a panel presented by the Columbia University School of Journalism First Amendment Breakfast Series, of which Makovsky + Company is a sponsor, addressed another dimension of the blogging phenomena: the relationship between bloggers and traditional print journalists. Serving on this panel were: Jay Rosen, professor of journalism at New York University and author of PressThink , a blog about the media; Jen Chung, founder of the news blogging site, Gothamist.com; and Art Brown, editorial page editor for the NY Daily News.

Many of their observations were thought-provoking and worth bringing to your attention:

  • Blogs expand the press by increasing the number of people reporting, thereby giving more people a bigger stake in defending the freedom of the press in the U.S.
  • Blogs are among the cheapest and fastest channels for reaching readers.

  • In certain cases, bloggers are the new experts that journalists can source. Many bloggers care deeply about a particular issue and become day-to-day news aggregators, making valuable specialized information available in a central location.

  • Press credentials to cover newsworthy events were traditionally granted only to print and broadcast journalists, as they were regarded as the “real” press. But certain bloggers have invaded that space; they no longer have to go through traditional journalists to report their findings, having developed their own sources and their own readership — including members of the mainstream media! — who know they will get the news out first. Bloggers have renewed the competition for facts and speed.

  • The mantra of the traditional journalist has always been: “Get it first, but first get it right.” Does that still work? Not in the blogosphere. In fact, it is the opposite:

  • The Blogger Philosophy: Initiate an argument which will then drive the need to get better facts.

  • The Journalist Philosophy: Objectively gather all the facts, form an opinion and then engage in an argument.

  • Blogs have increased the speed of commentary: anyone can comment immediately on any event.

  • The blogging system is a self-regulated entity. Blog posts which are accurate and true are the ones which are picked up by other bloggers. If a post is inaccurate, it is not picked up and the blogger accrues negative reputation points; the likelihood of any future posts by him or her being picked up decreases. Blogs gain importance when they are picked up and propagated by other bloggers.

  • Reputation, whether in print or pixels, is a valuable commodity. It is the value of reputation which enforces a standard of accuracy in both journalism and blogs because the better the reputation the greater the reach a blog has. In certain cases, the greater the reach, the more advertisers are willing to advertise on designated blogs, and the greater the economic value achieved.
Thus, are journalists and bloggers one in the same? Well… yes and no.


Technorati Tags: Blogs,Columbia University School of Journalism First Amendment Breakfast Series, Jay Rosen, Jen Chung, Art Brown, Blog Benefits, Blogs and Journalism, Blogs and the Press, Bloggers and Journalists, business, communications, public relations

1 Comments:

Blogger Online Fluency said...

I have some comments on some of the statements you reported.

You note: The mantra of the traditional journalist has always been: “Get it first, but first get it right.” Does that still work? Not in the blogosphere. In fact, it is the opposite." However, in my view, it’s more complex than this. Today, it’s evident that many so-called journalists or news sources are as biased as bloggers, and some don’t check their facts or they make them up (Jayson Blair, e.g.) and can get away with it because of lax fact-checking.
“Getting it right” can also be in the eyes of the beholder. The implied third party endorsement represented by the traditional media can be abused. Witness the NY Times’ reporting in the run-up to the Iraq war – too little fact-checking. Sorry to pick on the NY Times with both my examples – it’s still more believable than the majority of media.

You note also that "the blogging system is a self-regulated entity. Blog posts which are accurate and true are the ones which are picked up by other bloggers. If a post is inaccurate, it is not picked up and the blogger accrues negative reputation points; the likelihood of any future posts by him or her being picked up decreases. Blogs gain importance when they are picked up and propagated by other bloggers." In my view, the flip side of this is once a purported fact is out on the Internet it can live for a long time, wrong as well as right information. I also don’t think it is necessarily true that the posts that are accurate and true are the ones picked up by other bloggers. With the presidential primaries going on, that’s especially not true. Hillary, for example, resorted to using her web site to combat bloggers who spread the story that she hadn’t tipped a waitress on a campaign stop, among other techniques. She needed to get her story out there because opposition bloggers were spreading the story like wildfire, and the media were picking it up too. I don’t know if the story was true or not but Hillary’s people rolled out a parade of individuals who refuted what was said.

You also noted that "Reputation, whether in print or pixels, is a valuable commodity. It is the value of reputation which enforces a standard of accuracy in both journalism and blogs because the better the reputation the greater the reach a blog has. In certain cases, the greater the reach, the more advertisers are willing to advertise on designated blogs, and the greater the economic value achieved." In my view, of course, reputation is a valuable commodity. I don’t necessarily agree with the point that the better the reputation the greater the reach a blog has. Sometimes it’s all about entertainment.
Robbin http://onlinefluency.makovsky.com/

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 8:34:00 AM  

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