Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A blog is electronic paper on a network

Jeremy Wright has written a curious piece on how bloggers are not journalists. He posits that there is some contradiction between objectivity and credibility on the one hand and authenticity and honesty on the other.


Let me go back to the beginning, a blog is electronic paper on a network. It is whatever the writer makes of it. Perhaps it would be clearer to examine another medium, paper. The Washington Post is journalism, Marvel Comics is fantasy. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is news, The Daily Show is fake news, and The West Wing is drama.

Blogs are whatever their authors create. Silicon Valley Watcher, Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism and Ed Cone are all news blogs. Presto Vivace Blog is the corporate blog for Presto Vivace, Inc, and Realiticomm is a humor blog.

People do not become journalists because some editor “ordains” them. People become journalists by reporting. Justification by credibility as Luther might have said.

Jeremy Wright offers clarification:


The post wasn't examining why bloggers are or aren't journalists. The post was meant to examine the ethical differences between bloggers and journalists (or between non-journalist bloggers and journalist-bloggers or between non-journalist bloggers and journalists period)...

Several people have tried to characterize it as something else, I'm guessing, because in order to frame the ethics issue I had to frame the "who is what" issue. But, ultimately, that wasn't the point of the piece.

The point was that bloggers (ie: opinion-driven content, if you will) has a different ethical standard than journalists (or reporting-driven content).

I don't want to touch the "who is a blogger and who is a journalist" issue with a 10 foot pole, because it's a moving target depending on who you're talking to.

The ethics issue, though, is an important one that needs to be talked about.

Hope that helps clarify :) (feel free to blog this response if you want)

Jeremy C. Wright

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