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.
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