Monday, March 28, 2005

Beyond the blogging vs. journalism question


Are bloggers journalists?

This is the wrong question.

According to blogger and social networks researcher Danah Boyd the blogger vs. journalist debate is a dead end street:

"I think that the question needs to be shifted. We need to stop asking if bloggers are ournalists and start asking if journalism can occur on blogs? People didn't used to think that journalism could occur on radio or on TV. And there's no doubt that the medium changed the practice. But we all recognize these venues as legitimate sources of news. In a society of corrupt media, a shift in media is actually quite appreciated and should not be oppressed simply because it does not yet have legitimacy or because its legitimacy is not associated with any corporation's credentials. "
A recent panel at South by Southwest Interactive Media Festival explored the issue in more depth and here are some of the results of their Blogging Vs. Journalism panels:

"Beginning on February 14 and extending though the end of the month, uber-blogger Jeff Jarvis and New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller engaged in a lively e-mail discussion about the the ongoing love / hate relationship between mainstream media and participatory journalism. At one point, Jarvis remarked: "Are blogs an echo chamber? On the edges, they are. But there is a vast middle ground of people who are neither red nor blue and defy such simplistic media categorization. We are who we are and our blogs represent us. Also note that we link to those with whom we disagree so we can disagree. That cacophony of voices and viewpoints seems so unruly to those of us who've made our living ordering the world for print. But the noise is good. It's democratic." Meanwhile, Keller eventually countered "It's striking that there seems to be no end to any argument in your world. Every grievance is recycled endlessly, not necessarily spiraling up to a higher level of enlightenment but starting over and over from scratch. It's 'Groundhog Day.'" What are your thoughts on the virtual conversation between these two? What does it say about the escalating power of blogs that the Executive Editor of the nation's top newspaper would devote so much time to this dialogue with Jarvis? How can the mainstream media change to become more relevant to those who get the bulk of their news via blogs? Is the relationship between bloggers and journalists inherently antagonistic, or are these two groups complementary? What worries you more -- the lack of traditional standards of journalism in the blog world, or the corporate ownership of the mainstream media?"
Further Reading:

- The New Blogocracy by Danah Boyd from Salon- Demeaning bloggers: NYTimes is running scared - from Many2Many
Further Reading:

- The New Blogocracy by Danah Boyd from Salon- Demeaning bloggers: NYTimes is running scared - from Many2Many

- Wikipedia's history of blogs
- Rebecca Blood's Weblogs: a history and perspective
(note: Blood is considered one of the foremost world authorities on blogging. Any journalist reading this who plans on writing an article about blogs or blogging should read Blood's history before consulting interview subjects).