This is an interesting question, and seems to be coming from the “old media” world of reporting. In fact, the most interesting dicussion for me was on the “Cranky Geeks” show, episode 121 where Natali Del Conte, Senior Editor of CNET TV’s “Loaded” argued quite strongly that bloggers need to have the same journalistic standards and ethics that “real” journalists have.
Done laughing yet?
Let’s set aside for a brief moment the apocryphal stories we have all heard, and seen in TV dramas, of reporters lying, cheating, and quite simply doing anything to get the story. The simple fact is blogs aren’t news reporters. They are many, many things.
Admittedly this idea gets lost on journalists, since many of their news-agencies are now hosting “blogs.” Just head on over to the Wall Street Journal and you will find, on the right hand side, a spot for blogs. (See graphic)
Go visit any other major newspaper (The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, and others) and you will see the same thing–a commitment to being “relevant” with the tech world by hosting blogs on their websites. Does this mean blogging is “journalism”? So should all bloggers be “journalists?”
I think they all miss the boat by assuming that blogs are limited by what they want them to be. Journalists/reporters see blogs as reporting (and then are upset with they don’t meet their “standards.”) Others view a blog as a place where they can write about their own personal views on things from diapers, to politics, to religion. Still others find the blog as a nice way to share about their experiences and foibles in the work place, and these blogs will be as varied as the occupations and professions they hold. Still others use their blog to show videos, share, images, or host podcasts.
Really the only thing that we can say about blogs is that they enable one/a few/many to share what they want with any audience that chooses to visit. Generally, blogs are open to the general public to visit (a distinction I draw between blogs and online diary sites.) And usually, blogs have comment sections available for the visitor to share their views, creating a multi-way conversation. It is this opportunity for conversation that separates blogs from so many other “one way” forms of communication.
Blogging allows us to engage in conversation with a wide range of people from diverse views, locations, and professions. We should welcome the opportunity to expose ourselves to so many views, rather than insist that bloggers meet one view of “reporting”, or limit comments to only those that agree with our views.
Tip of the hat to Jessica DaSliva. (on Twitter as @jdasliva) She unknowingly spurred my post by her honest blogging about the changes at the Tampa Tribune.