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Advantage Blogosphere™

Some yammering lately regarding the question: Is blogging journalism? And the short answer, some times. There are a variety of styles of blogs, from cat blogging and personal diaries to political commentary and original research. Obviously, I’m referring to the latter types of blogs. In light of the recent events involving The Guardian, some bloggers of note are taking notice of the potential impact blogs had on uncovering the truth. This has happened before and will happen again. And other blogs point out that if you hold big media to standards then you should hold blogs to those same standards.

Some blogs actively claim that they are fact checking your ass, and they do a good job. A while back, the BBC released a story that claimed the US did not budget any aid for post-war Afghanistan. The story was false and the reason was that the BBC has a failure to grasp what is meant by a fiscal year. Alex Knapp and Jay Caruso were all over it, with an assist by yours truly. I don’t know that the BBC ever retracted the story but they were either being misleading or ignorant. I think the latter is more likely given the gross inaccuracies we see in the media involving firearms.

So, what is journalism?

1 The collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts.
2 Material written for publication in a newspaper or magazine or for broadcast.
3 The style of writing characteristic of material in newspapers and magazines, consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation.
4Newspapers and magazines.
5 An academic course training students in journalism.
6 Written material of current interest or wide popular appeal.

The definition is dated because it doesn’t consider the Internet as notably newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV have a presence on the web. Blogging does consist of direct presentation of facts or occurrences but often does a lot more analysis and opining. Blogging also consists of Written material of current interest or wide popular appeal. And there is also fair amount of original news that comes from blogs by way of bloggers witnessing events, personal experience, and doing research.

Blogs, though lacking the code of ethics that big media has (until recently), are held to higher standards. If you blog something that is refutable, someone will refute it. Media had the luxury of being immune from that for a while. Through blogs, the media aren’t that lucky anymore. In addition, blogs often link to facts with direct links (heck, our local paper hasn’t even figured out hyperlinks yet). Media often quote the ominous anonymous source, which apparently is where Mr. Blair got some of his disinformation. Anonymous sources by nature aren’t verifiable (yes, I’m fully aware of the irony that this is coming from your friendly neighborhood anonymous blogger).

Don’t be too quick to dismiss blogs as not providing anything relevant and not competition for the media. At the same time, realize that blogging likely isn’t going to be the next best thing since toilet paper (pun intended).

So, is blogging journalism? Some times.

Is blogging better than journalism? Some times.

Are bloggers more accountable for their material? Definitely.

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